The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lowered the travel alert warning for cruises, just as sailings are set to begin in the coming weeks.
The CDC announced Wednesday that they officially lowered the alert from Level 4, the highest, to Level 3.
According to the CDC, a Level 4 or very high warning, means that people should "avoid travel to this destination."
The Level 3 warning urges people to be vaccinated before travel and that "unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to this destination."
The new alert warning states that "since the virus spreads more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high,” and continued by warning that those who are not fully vaccinated "with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.”
If you do travel without being vaccinated, the CDC says you should get tested 1-3 days before your trip and 3-5 days after the trip. Also, those who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for seven days after cruise travel, even with a negative COVID-19 test result, and quarantine for 10 days if they take no test.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. Cruise companies are working to comply with the bill while also following CDC guidance.
The current CDC process requires each ship that will be permitting non-vaccinated guests to complete a simulation cruise before receiving approval to resume sailing once again from U.S. ports.
The federal government shut down all cruises in March of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, the state of Florida filed a lawsuit against the CDC over its no-sail order.
Florida is the nation’s cruise capital with three of the world’s busiest ports: Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. The cruise industry generates billions for the economy and employs tens of thousands of Floridians.
Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean postponed the inaugural sailing of its Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship out of Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades after several crew members tested positive for COVID-19.