Centers for Disease Control Advises People not to Embark on Cruise Ships

On Sunday, the CDC as well as the US State Dept. issued some guidance advising all Americans to avoid unnecessary air travel and to refrain from traveling by cruise ship.

At this time, those who have reported illness have had symptoms ranging from none at all to very mild or even severe, with some illness resulting in death. Older people and people of all ages with serious chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, for example — are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

The President & CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, Kelly Craighead, had the following to say about the statement from the CDC and the US State Dept.:

We are surprised at the advisory, but are moving forward and remain focused on development of an aggressive, responsive plan as agreed to during the meeting with Vice President Pence that goes beyond the already significantly enhanced protocols that are in place. We look forward to submitting our plan to the Vice President imminently.

Our first priority is to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation. We look forward to working with the Vice President and the federal agencies represented on the White House COVID-19 Task Force on a robust plan.

Current risk assessment:

The CDC recommends that folks avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces, such as a cruise ship. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 will increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick. Remember, some folks have no symptoms and may not realize that they have the virus.

What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?

If you do travel by cruise ship during the COVID-19 outbreak, below are the guidelines from the CDC:

  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.
  • Discuss cruise ship travel with your healthcare provider prior to travel.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
    • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid traveling if you are sick.
  • If you get sick with a fever or new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing during your cruise, stay in your cabin and notify the onboard medical center immediately.

If you were on a cruise in the past 14 days:

  • Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
    • If a case of COVID-19 was reported on your ship during the cruise, stay home during these 14 days and practice social distancing.
  • Stay home if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing and call ahead before you seek medical care
  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Disney Cruise Line changed their cancellation policies allowing for any person sailing before May 30, 2020, may cancel their cruise without penalty.

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