U.S. CDC says people should ‘avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status’

The Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is prepared for its next voyage as it is docked on December 24, 2021, in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Gary Hershorn | Corbis News | Getty Images

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised people against travelling by cruise ship regardless of their vaccination status after a recent increase in positive Covid cases as the omicron variant sweeps the world.

The CDC increased its travel warning for cruise ships to the highest level. The agency is currently investigating or observing dozens of cruise ships that have had Covid outbreaks.

The CDC warned that Covid transmits easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of catching the virus on a cruise is very high even for people who are vaccinated and have received a booster dose.

The CDC advised people who do decide to travel on a cruise ship get vaccinated before their trip and receive a booster dose if eligible. Passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for five days after travel, according to the CDC. Facemasks should also be worn in shared spaces.

The stocks of Royal Caribbean Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival were down on the news. Brian Salerno with the Cruise Lines International Association said the trade group was disappointed by the CDC’s decision.

“We’re obviously disappointed at the CDC’s decision to raise the travel level for cruise today—especially given the overwhelming level of effectiveness of cruise protocols that are resulting in significantly lower level of cases on cruise as compared to land,” Salerno said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Correction: Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival stocks were down more than 2% on the news. Royal Caribbean fell 1.93%. A previous version of this story misstated Royal Carribbean’s stock move.