Coronavirus: CDC drops COVID-19 risk advisory for cruise ship travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday lifted its risk advisory for cruise ship travel.

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The updated notice, which was posted online by the agency, comes after more than two years of warning travelers of the dangers of contracting COVID-19 on a cruise during the pandemic, USA Today reported.

In December 2021, the CDC increased its travel warnings for cruises to Level 4 -- its highest level -- after investigations of ships that had COVID-19 outbreaks, according to NPR.

In February, the CDC lowered its warning against cruise travel to Level 3, The Wall Street Journal reported. Earlier this month, the agency lowered the risk to Level 2, according to the newspaper.

The CDC still said it was up to individual passengers to determine their own health risks before boarding a cruise ship, NPR reported.

“While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings,” the agency said in a statement.

Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean dropped their mask mandates earlier this year as COVID-19-related cases and deaths declined nationwide, CBS News reported.

In a statement, Cruise Lines International Association said the CDC’s move “recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020.”

There are currently 34 cruise ships with enough COVID-19 cases onboard that meet the threshold for a CDC investigation, according to the agency’s tracker.

According to the CDC’s tracker, another 35 cruise ships have some cases on board, but are below the threshold for an official investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the CDC, 37 cruise ships have no identified COVID-19 cases on board.