Travelers who are at high risk of severe complications from the coronavirus should avoid taking cruises regardless of their vaccination status, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced.
The updated guidance also recommends that anyone who is not fully vaccinated avoid cruise ships as well.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high,” the guidance reads. “Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.”
Cruise companies only recently began sailing again, but those plans have been altered because of the outbreak of the Delta variant, which has led to skyrocketing numbers of infected Americans.
Earlier this month, a Carnival cruise ship that left from Galveston, Texas, had 26 crew members and one passenger test positive.
The CDC guidance also recommends that any passenger, regardless of vaccination status, get tested 1 to 3 days before their trip and 3 to 5 days after their cruise.
The biggest change in the CDC guidance is the recommendation that high-risk individuals avoid cruising, even if vaccinated.
“If you are at increased risk for severe illness and considering cruise travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, discuss this type of travel with your healthcare professional,” the guidance says. “Older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID-19. People with weakened immune systems, including people who take medicines that suppress their immune systems, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.”
Wearing a mask while in close quarters or indoors on all ships is required. They are not necessary while in outdoor areas of the ship, although the CDC recommends them if it is a crowded outdoor setting.
Most of the cruise companies have added more restrictive measures for their sailings in recent weeks. Norwegian Cruise Lines has been the most restrictive, requiring all passengers to be fully vaccinated and banning children under 12 who are not eligible for the shots.