CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, avoid cruise ships

Last week the CDC made a recommendation on the side of caution for once. Following outbreaks of covid on at least 91 cruise ships, the CDC recommended that everyone stop cruising. This follows their reduction in the quarantine period. Early in the pandemic there were outbreaks on cruise ships ending up stuck at seas, sometimes with crew members isolated for weeks. The cruise industry attempted a comeback in late 2020 by requiring negative test results before boarding, which of course wasn’t enough to prevent cases. After the vaccines became available, Cruises started requiring proof of vaccination, a measure which Governor Ron DeSantis unsuccessfully attempted to block. The CDC’s recommendation comes after several ships were not allowed to disembark at various ports due to positive cases on board. Most of those ships have been allowed to return to US ports.

Cruise travel should be avoided by everyone “regardless of vaccination status,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest advisory.

The agency announced Thursday that its COVID-19 Travel Health Notice (THN) has been raised to its highest level possible, Level 4. It was previously at Level 3.

The change comes as cases of COVID-19 are spiking across the United States thanks to the Omicron variant, which the World Health Organization announced the discovery of in late November.

Since then, the CDC says multiple COVID outbreaks have been reported on cruise ships. In late December, two Royal Caribbean ships had a large number of passengers test positive mid-trip: 48 on the Miami-bound Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, and 55 just days later on the Odyssey of the Seas in the Caribbean.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships,” the agency said Thursday, “and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.”

[From People]

I’ve told this story many times, but I got norovirus on a cruise once. It was awful. My family was cruising with me but I was the only non-vegetarian and I got it after eating a burger. You could not pay me enough to take another cruise. I do feel for people who love to cruise but it is time to travel another way. That industry needs to either shut down or be put on ice until the pandemic is under control. Many of us couldn’t even see our families this holiday and transmission rates are at an all time high.

This CDC snapshot of the transmission rates across the US was taken on January 3, 2022 at 5:30 am. You can see the latest transmission rates here.

I looked through the cruise ship tag on TikTok from the last week. Look at the people partying close to each other with no masks.

I used a photo of Goop for the front page because she’s working with Celebrity Cruises.

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50 Responses to “CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, avoid cruise ships”

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  1. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I have so many horrific stories of cruises and germs. Everyone should avoid them anyway.
    There’s better ways to travel and see other places.

    And speaking from Maine, cases are very high. I’ve never known so many people at a given time in the ICU with COVID. People are still getting very I’ll and people are sadly still falling to this.

    • equality says:

      They are basically travelling petri dishes. If you can’t get off the ship at ports what fun is it? LIke you say, if you really want to see other places, there are better ways since you can’t spend much time on-shore even in normal times.

    • Paintergal says:

      Floating petrie dishes. Cruise ships are gross. (Oops, just noticed equality said that above.)

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I must confess we took two cruises as the kids were at an age that they could run around by themselves and the activities on board. But I will tell you that after the first cruise, I became much more weary with regards to healthy safety measures. I booked our second cruise on a brand new Royal Caribbean boat as is was her very first outing, with passengers. I saw how the first cruise was with all of the buffets, etc…I was mindful. But that was it for us. If we do another cruise, it will be on one of those smaller 3 mast boats, in the Antilles.

        CB, I am so sorry to hear of you becoming sick. How awful!! The rooms are so small and I would imagine it ruined your appetite for life.

        As for those who actually thought that it was safe to cruise, they are idiots!! Plus, they are people complaining about the Omincron ruining their excursions too, as many of their ports have refused them to dock. What did they expect?
        My husband drove from TX to CA to visit his Mum and sister as he wasn’t willing to jeopardize becoming a carrier, as she is 102. Hell, flying still scares me!!

        I don’t understand how people can justify the need to be flying to see family, but it’s only due to my own health issues as an immune compromised person.

  2. Lolo86lf says:

    What’s the point of cruising when a new wave of Covid-19 is escalating? It just takes all the fun out of it. For f*cks sake just find another way of vacationing until the infection numbers are down.

    • Robert says:

      Or maybe realize that it’s just not the time to take a vacation period. People like this is why we are still having infections. They are why this will still be going on five years from now. If everyone would have buckled down in 2020 and actually stayed home we might already have been done with this. But no. Now we aren’t ever going back to the way it was. We will always have to be more cautious out in public.

      • petee says:

        Robert I couldn’t agree more.Everybody should have stayed home for awhile and this could have been nipped in the bud early on.

  3. Kkat says:

    I went on a cruise in late February 2020, we got damn lucky.
    I will probably never get on a plague ship again.

  4. Lauren Too says:

    I will start working as an excursion hostess for the italian-swiss cruise company MSC in February. For the moment I was told that I will be put only in the EU routes. I’m honestly terrified, but I’m kind of excited bout everything especially getting to see places after being stuck in Italy for 2 years due to the pandemic.

    • JanetDR says:

      Best of luck to you!

    • BothSidesNow says:

      How excited for you as I have a GF from the ‘80’s who had a sister that was a professional dancer that was in the industry for 6 years. She loved it due to the magnificent places she saw!!

      I just wish that times were better for you @ Lauren Too!! I hope it works out for you and you remain safe!

  5. Ines says:

    I actually lived on cruise ships. For 2.5 years I worked as a purser on Royal Caribbean cruises. Whether I would cruise during a pandemic is a different matter, but from what I saw, the hygiene standards were high. I will add, I was never sick in all that time.

    • lisa says:

      Thank you for mentioning this. We just did a cruise a couple months ago – everything sparkling clean, low capacity, we were able to stay miles away from everyone else, everyone was vaxxed, I would go on a cruise tomorrow if I could. Those Caribbean countries depend on our tourism.

  6. Gina says:

    I worked for a cruise line I don’t want to name for over 3 years. I will say crew members health is not prioritised, however guest’s health very much is. And the sanitation standards on cruise ships are incredibly high. Seeing the cdc shortening quarantine recommendations and then recommending not cruising at all is just completely hypocritical. Prioritising us economy, but millions of crew members of which the majority are not American will suffer. I feel so sorry for my former colleagues whose livelihood still depends on being on board and now being scapegoated once again.


    I’m glad they are taking it seriously and I hope people aren’t too disappointed. Taking a cruise has always sounded like a nightmare to me so I can’t say I feel deprived.

  8. Fifee says:

    I’ve always liked the idea of going on a cruise but they’re floating pétri dishes and if I become ill I want to be ill in my own bed. The idea that they started sailing again in the first place was insane. I have an old school friend who went from the police, to merchant navy and then onto upscale low passenger volume cruise ship security who has lost their long term employment. Where they go from here is unknown and I feel sorry and only for that this reason that cruising for the moment is done.

  9. BethAnne says:

    Cruising is so bad for the environment. It would be better for the world for this vacation industry to go.

  10. Lotta says:

    What other ways are better to travel when it comes environmental and climate changing?
    The only thing I can think of is going by rail, which would be possible with in Europe but not if you want to travel from the US.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      I’d rather fly and avoid the environmental costs associated with the cruise industry. By air, once you’re at your location it’s pretty easy to minimize the impact of your tourism. Cruise ships, not so much.

  11. Becks1 says:

    I love cruising but I’m not sure when I would be comfortable going on another one. Not anytime soon, I can tell you that.

  12. OptimalDork says:

    My husband’s aunt (78) and his mother (85) are on Ms Zuiderdam where, as of last week, there were 28 employees and 2 passengers with COVID. Surprised that didn’t make the newspaper list. Mexico had to strong arm one of the ports so the cruise passengers could come ashore.

    The whole family was against them going but what Aunt Susie wants, Aunt Susie gets. It’s mind blowing.

    • Outlawful says:

      Aunt Susie going to die soon if that’s the case. Hope she’s ready!

      • RedWave says:

        You people are so sick wish death on someone trying to live life. So much for being on the side of the tolerant and accepting of everyone. Don’t you have to be fully vaxxed to go? The vaxxed ARE THE SPEADERS ffs.

  13. GandalfTheMeh says:

    I knew there was a reason I never wanted to go on a cruise. Floating petri dishes and all that.

  14. phlyfiremama says:

    Meh. My Husband & I just got off the Carnival Vista, we are fine. It was truly safer on the ship than it was going to Buck’ees on the way home. Everybody on the ship had to have at least 2 vaccines, and a covid test within 48 hours of boarding. On the ship, people were REQUIRED to wear masks inside at all times, unless actively eating or drinking, or in their cabins; otherwise they would get booted off the ship with no refund. People COMPLIED, which is FAR more than I can say about just going to Kroger or ANY place on shore, for that matter.

    • Outlawful says:

      Yea, ‘meh’

      Put my cruise ship vacay off bc of a pandemic?

      Yea, there’s a specific type of person who goes on cruise ships (at all), but even more specific for those types that go during COVID.

      And if somebody dies?

      • phlyfiremama says:

        Please, stop with the histrionics. Like I said, the cruise was safer than going grocery shopping. Seriously. They enforced the inside mask rule, none of this “but my RIGHTS” from the whining contingent BS was tolerated by the cruise crew. NOBODY cares more about being able to safely operate than the crew: their direct livelihoods are on the line. We have been on 7 cruises in the past, and never had an issue with ANY of them. We get balcony cabins, and don’t eat at the buffet: we do sit down breakfast & supper, and eat on shore on those days.

      • Kkat says:

        It’s not histrionics to say people are selfish morons to go on cruises during a pandemic.
        It’s truth.

    • lisa says:

      phlyfiremama: 100% agree!! Cruising is safer than most other activities during this pandemic. This hypocrisy from the CDC is BS, they just need a scapegoat. In fact, I’m online looking right now for our next cruise. We took one in Oct and a few people showed up to board without getting double vax and 48-hour test, they were turned away. People were nailed on the ship for not wearing their masks and they were kicked off, left in a port to find their way home. It was the cleanest, safest activity I’ve done in two years and I am SO sad for the crews and the countries which depend on our tourist dollars to survive.

      • Ry says:

        People who don’t like cruises will say they’re bad. People who like cruises will say they’re good. People want what they want and find their own justifications. That’s the bottom line to everything in life it seems.

  15. WithTheAmerican says:

    That “back to fun” flag flying over a lonely masked DJ is pretty much a self own.

    I miss “fun” too but there are better ways to get close to it than locking yourself on a Petri dish during a pandemic.

  16. Outlawful says:

    People going on cruises right now are the type who drag down humanity. If it was only those types who succumbed to COVID in the first place.

    SO many stupid/selfish combo people out there, it’s disheartening.

  17. pottymouth pup says:

    So, wait, didn’t Gwyneth make a big deal about how she’s not using BOTOX? Has she at any time admitted that the product she shills for Merz is still botulinum toxin?

  18. Sasha says:

    I’m from Canada. I travelled to Palm Springs late Feb 2020 before we were even paying attention to Covid (as being a threat to us, anyways) I came back with the worst flu I have ever experienced (before I got infected with the Delta Varient, anyways) and it was so peculiar to me because I had a fever. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had a fever. Then within 2-3 weeks everything was shut down due to Covid. Things happened seemingly overnight. It’s insane to look back and see how quickly it all happened and how long it’s been going on. I can remember people saying “Do you think we’ll be back at school by Monday?” And I was like “oh no- this will be at least a few months”. Almost 2 years later…

  19. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I don’t even leave my house unless I have to…a cruise? Out of the question. But as for cruising without a looming panni, I’ve taken several as well as quite a bit of traveling and staying in so many hotels, ranging from three to five stars, and the ships were often much more sterile than brick and mortars. Surface area is drastically reduced and there’s a higher level of sustained focus unilaterally. I’m sure there are crap cruises *cough* carnival, but I thoroughly enjoyed my week and two-week excursions with several port visits. I do, however, live by a buffet rule. I avoid them like the plague lol. Everyone should always stay away from buffets regardless of pannis lol.

  20. Gubbinal says:

    On one hand, I have noticed that the “cruisers” I know have not been much under 70 years old. My mother-in-law went on a cruise with a group of friends. They love the fact that it is wheelchair friendly and that the cruises are a break from the increasing burden of cooking and cleaning when one is old.

    On the other, cruises are relatively new. When I was young the only “cruisers” I knew were a couple of people who feared planes so much that they paid for a cabin on the Queen Mary, which people found remarkable.

    We need to remember that taking so much advantage of nature and its resources is striking back. People did not fly as casually as we do now. The environmental crisis happened because of human behavior and we are stuck with the bill—and it will keep growing.

  21. Faye G says:

    Cruising has been great for my family, a few of whom have mobility issues. It’s a great way for them to still join us on vacation, and we’ve never gotten sick on board.

    I wouldn’t cruise right now obviously, but I feel the industry has been unfairly scapegoated this while pandemic. Schools are just as bad at spreading Covid. There can be issues but the nicer cruise lines are very clean and enjoyable.

  22. AmelieOriginal says:

    I was anti cruise before covid and you will never get me on a cruise for the rest of my life. Trapped on a floating petri dish of germs that is destroying our oceans and aquatic wildlife with annoying strangers I don’t want to deal with is not my idea of fun. I realize planes aren’t great for the environment either but they are often necessary modes of transportation and not solely used for vacation, unlike cruises. A cruise is entirely elective.

    • ANON says:

      Agreed. I was also anti cruise before COVID. Even if incidents are relatively rare, there are loads of dangers that are unique to cruise ships and happen more often than you’d think. Illness, injuries, medical malpractice, not to mention a business that’s run on the backs of exploited and underpaid workers–big no thank you.

      • Jaded says:

        Thank you ANON. It’s a travesty how cruise ship workers are treated, most of the support staff (waiters, cleaners, etc.) don’t get a wage or benefits, they work for tips and typically work up to 16 hours a day. It’s slave labour.

    • Ines says:

      They work long hours. They also work 6 or 7 months on, two months off, to compensate for it. They have good health insurance, return tickets back home, however far home is, room and board, and the tips are actually added to passenger’s bills (ie mandatory). In other words, the cocktail waiter pockets 10% of what they sell, or however much the tip is these days. This can amount to quite a bit.
      I would certainly not call it slave labour. I did it myself when I was young. I was paid, in 1990, $1500 tax free a month. I was 19. This is 30 years ago. This was a pretty good salary back then.
      The thing with ships, is that they have to house their employees and space is at a premium. That is why there are no days off and staff work long hours, and have longer breaks between contracts to compensate.

  23. Andrea says:

    I feel like cruises are a cheap alternative for the average American to see places they normally couldn’t afford. I have a friend who went on 2 cruises this year (Alaskan and Bahamas). She already had covid once last year (pre cruises). I personally dont like the idea of not being able to do as I please, meaning maybe I wanna stay on island 2 days instead of 1. I flew to Ireland in 2018 and my same cruising friend is taking a cruise to Ireland next year. I’d much rather fly in again and travel. Aching to go to Paris when they pandemic is over with.

  24. Jaded says:

    Each passenger mile on a typical cruise ship emits 1.17 pounds of CO2. So for example, a weeklong Western Caribbean cruise leaving from Miami and making stops in the Caribbean before arriving back in Florida would emit 2,137 pounds of CO2.

    Cruise ships have diesel engines or gas turbines—or a combo of the two—and these have a high sulfur content. Sulfur mixed with air and water forms sulfuric acid, which is the main ingredient in acid rain. This can destroy marine life, corrode buildings, and cause deforestation. The International Maritime Organization says that all ships must switch to cleaner fuel with lower sulfur content by this year—but the solution still isn’t too effective. Ships are now installing scrubbers, which clean the inexpensive fuel but dump pollutants into the water.

    Many cruise ships dump plastic and food waste directly into the ocean. Carnival, for example, had to pay a $20 million fine for doing it. And all ships are allowed to drop untreated sewage directly in the ocean, as long as they’re at least three miles offshore, even though 90% of cruise lines have an *agreement* not to dump untreated sewage. Even still, Carnival Cruise Lines along with Crystal Cruises and Costa Cruises received “F” ratings in terms of sewage dumping from the 2019 cruise report card.

    This is why I refuse to cruise.

  25. L4Frimaire says:

    I’ve never had any issues health wise with cruising in the past, ships were always constantly bring cleaned with emphasis on hand washing due to Norovirus. That said, no way would I consider a cruise until this pandemic is way behind us or very much under control. I don’t even want to get on an airplane, much less a ship.

  26. Ann says:

    The Love Boat was enough for me!

  27. april says:

    Ok – Goop’s face looks so different. I like the old face better. I do like her cruise outfit in that photo with the matching color shoes.

  28. Delphine says:

    I caught norovirus once and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  29. The lady legit says:

    I went on a cruise and October and found it to be much safer than grocery shopping. My family had to be vaccinated and have a test within 48 hours of cruising and of course wear masks. I was actually much more concerned about my flight to get to the cruise. I think cruises are getting a bad rap. The recent ships out breaks were much less that 1% of the 5000 to 6000 people onboard. We don’t see numbers of the people who have contracted COVID from concerts, football games, air travel or any other type of activities.