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CDC lowers warning for cruises, recommends only fully vaccinated travel

Just days before the first post-pandemic ship sets sail from the U.S. with ticketed passengers, the CDC has eased its travel warning for cruise line passengers.

WASHINGTON — As cruise lines get ready to resume trips from the U.S. this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lowered its travel alert for cruises. 

The CDC's updates, first posted on Wednesday, brought its warning down from level 4 to level 3, and recommends only fully vaccinated people go on cruises for the time being. 

The federal agency also said cruise line passengers should get tested for coronavirus 1 to 3 days before their trip and 3 to 5 days after the sailing ends.

On Wednesday, Royal Caribbean announced it was postponing for nearly a month the inaugural sailing of the Odyssey of the Seas ship after several crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The cruise line's CEO explained that during routine testing eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated on June 4 

Celebrity Edge, also part of the Royal Caribbean Group, is set to become the first post-pandemic ship to sail from the U.S. with ticketed passengers on June 26.  

As part of the CDC's updated guidance, passengers who aren't fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after going on a cruise, even if they test negative. If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.  

Credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP
Fans line up at Jetty Park to see the Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras arrive at Port Canaveral, Fla., early Friday morning, June 4, 2021.

"Since the virus spreads more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high," the CDC stated on its website. "It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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