With Covid-19 infections spiking globally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a bulletin recommending passengers avoid travelling on cruise ships, including river cruises
In providing its guidance, the CDC was especially concerned for travellers with an increased risk of severe illness, namely older adults and those with underlying medical conditions. CDC defines severe illness as when a person that has contracted Covid-19 requires hospital, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, without which they may even die.
Among the underlying medical conditions cited by the CDC are cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart conditions, pregnancy and Type 2 diabetes. CDC details more underlying medical conditions on its website.
Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including Covid-19, and outbreaks of Covid-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
For those passengers that decide to go on a cruise, CDC recommends getting tested three to five days after your trip and stay home for seven days after travel. “Even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days,” said the CDC in a statement, adding, “If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel.”
On 30 October 2020, CDC had issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for cruise ships operating in US waters. This framework lays out a phased approach for resuming passenger cruise operations. Passenger operations continue to be suspended during the initial phases of this order. The initial phase requires crew screening to determine the prevalence of Covid-19 among all crew members currently on cruise ships in US waters.
Carnival Cruise Lines has paused its operations in the US through 31 January 2021. In a statement, Carnival said it is in the process of building a gradual, phased in approach to resume guest operations, which will focus initially on Miami and Port Canaveral, to be followed by Galveston. Carnival reported 16 of its ships are currently following the CDC process for an eventual resumption of guest service in the US in 2021, including Carnival Conquest, Dream, Ecstasy, Elation, Freedom, Glory, Liberty, Miracle, Panorama, Pride, Sensation, Sunrise, Sunshine and Vista. Mardi Gras, which is under construction in Finland, will also enter service in 2021.
Carnival brands Seabourn Cruise, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line all recently announced extended pauses on cruise travel into 2021.