New from the CDC: Even if you’re vaccinated, you should avoid cruise ship travel

A cruise ship with a mountain in the background.
Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas was the first large cruise ship to sail to Alaska in 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the 2020 season. In late December 2021, the CDC once again warned Americans against cruise ship travel. (Eric Stone/KRBD)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is once again asking Americans to avoid cruise ship travel. With the emergence of the omicron variant, federal health officials say that even fully vaccinated passengers can catch and spread COVID-19.

On Thursday, the CDC raised the risk level for cruise ship travel to Level 4: its highest level, which means even vaccinated travelers should avoid cruise ships. At the previous level, the CDC was only warning unvaccinated people against cruise ship travel.

There are almost 100 ships with COVID-19 on board that the CDC is currently investigating. 

All cruise ships are sailing in U.S. waters under a conditional sailing order, which means the cruise ship companies have to comply with certain safety regulations and have agreements with the U.S. ports where they dock. That order has been extended until January 15th. 

There is a full slate of cruise ships scheduled to visit Alaska in 2022. The first large ship will arrive in Juneau at the end of April.

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