The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned people on Thursday not to go on cruises, regardless of their vaccination status, because of onboard outbreaks fueled by the omicron variant.
The CDC said it has more than 90 cruise ships under investigation or observation as a result of COVID-19 cases. The agency did not disclose the number of infections.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” even if people are fully vaccinated and have received a booster, the CDC said.
The Cruise Lines International Association said it was disappointed with the new recommendations, saying the industry was singled out despite the fact it follows stricter health protocols than other travel sectors.
The decision “is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard,” a statement said. “The majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore.”
In March 2020, as the coronavirus took hold in the U.S., the CDC put a halt to all cruises for what turned out to be 15 months. Last June, it allowed ships to resume sailing under new strict new conditions.
In August, as the delta variant surged, the agency warned people who are at risk of severe illness despite being vaccinated not to go on cruises.
The CDC on Thursday also recommended that passengers get tested and quarantine for five days after docking, regardless of their vaccination status and even if they have no symptoms.