Avoid cruises amid Omicron surge: CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people should avoid traveling on cruise ships regardless of their vaccination status, as daily COVID-19 cases in the country climb to record highs due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

The move delivers another blow to the cruise industry that had just started returning to the seas in June after a months-long suspension of voyages caused by the pandemic.

The CDC on Thursday raised its COVID-19 travel health notice for cruise ships to its highest warning level, citing reports of COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships.

In response, the Cruise Lines International Association said, quote:

"The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard.”

Norwegian Cruise, meanwhile, said it believed guests on its ships were better protected from contracting COVID-19 than in any other general population setting.

The company and Carnival said the CDC's decision had not impacted scheduled itineraries.

The CDC said passengers already on cruise ships should get tested three to five days after their trip ends, and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days.

The health agency has investigated COVID-19 cases on more than 90 ships.

Shares in Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean fell about 1% after the travel advisory from the CDC.

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