CDC’s COVID-19 cruise guidance to change this weekend

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — Cruise ships are no longer required to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance when it comes to COVID-19.

The CDC’s current regulations, called a conditional sailing order, expire on Saturday at midnight, meaning following the CDC’s guidelines will be optional for cruise ship operators.

Still, the CDC hasn’t quite given the green light to go on cruises yet. The health agency still considers cruises “high risk,” and recommends people avoid cruise travel, regardless of their vaccination status.

Cruise line officials have pushed back on this, saying their industry follows stricter health protocols than other travel sectors.

Some travelers aren’t fazed by the CDC’s recommendation, saying that traveling is a risk they’re willing to take.

For those who do decide to take to the seven seas, the CDC suggests making sure to get fully vaccinated, including a booster shot, getting tested three to five days before and after the trip and wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth in shared spaces.

Stewart Chiron, founder of The Leisure Pros, a travel-marketing company, speaking to NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert on “Morning in America,” said cruise lines have been meeting or exceeding CDC guidelines.

“Going forward, the cruise lines are going to continue following the science and improve the best and safest environment they can for cruise passengers,” Chiron, also known as “The Cruise Guy,” said.

Chiron himself has been on 12 cruises in the last six months.

Most cruise lines are requiring people wear masks in indoors, and there’s plenty of space on the ships, Chiron said.

In a letter to investors last week, Royal Caribbean Group said of the 1.1 million cruise passengers it’s had, only a little more than 1,700 had COVID-19 cases or COVID-19 symptoms.

“Everyone’s been either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms,” Chiron said.

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