At long last, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped its Travel Health Notice for cruising.
This welcome change comes after two years of the agency warning travelers against taking cruises, and essentially telling them not to get on a cruise ship.
Cruise lines are already issuing statements on the update, with Holland America Line’s president Gus Antorcha saying:
“The CDC’s removal of its health notice related to cruise travel is an important step forward in recognizing the work we have done to protect our guests. At Holland America Line, we continue to operate vaccinated cruises and have created a safe and healthy environment for our guests, our teams, and the communities we serve, helping to ensure cruising is among the safest forms of socializing and travel.”
“With the remainder of our ships set to return to service in the coming weeks, Holland America Line is looking forward to safely welcoming more guests back to cruising this spring and summer as we explore Alaska, Canada, New England, and Europe.”
Virgin Voyages’ CEO Tom McAlpin also commented, saying “We’re absolutely thrilled to see that the CDC recognizes that it’s time to remove the Travel Health Notice website. While we feel this was a long time coming, we recognize this move as a demonstration of all of the hard work this industry has done to ensure that we’re offering the safest way to travel. It’s refreshing to see them meet us where we’re at, and clearly where our consumers are at considering the major uptick in demand we’ve seen.”
In recent months, the CDC had rapidly been dropping its cruise travel warning, going from Level 4 (the highest) to Level 3 in mid-February, and then from Level 3 to Level 2 on March 14, which meant that cruising represented a “moderate” health risk.
A week ago, the agency made changes to its guidance for cruise lines that had opted into its COVID-19 cruise program — with the changes involving shore excursions, onboard experiences, and close contacts of COVID-positive guests.