ATLANTA, Ga. (KTVE/KARD) — On Thursday, December 30, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged travelers who are vaccinated and unvaccinated to avoid cruise ship travel due to a record-breaking COVID-19 surge across the United States. “Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 “spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.” The travel health notice upgrade from level 3 to level 4 is a reflection of the increases in cases onboard cruise ships since the identification of the Omicron variant.

The CDC also mentioned that cruise ships are at level yellow on a color-coded CDC chart. “It is especially important that travelers who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC added.

If travelers do chose to travel on a cruise, the CDC encourages them to receive the vaccine booster if eligible and to wear a mask in shared spaces onboard. For those who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine for five days after their cruise travel.

After ships and tourists returned to the seas in late 2021, many new policies were introduced in an effort to tamp down the spread of Covid onboard: mandatory vaccinations, negative Covid tests and even daily PCR tests for all passengers.