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CDC lifts COVID-19 risk warning for cruise ships

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — For the first time in two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its “Travel Health Notice” warning about COVID-19 risks on cruise ships.

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While the CDC says cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, they’re now leaving it up to travelers to make their own risk assessment when choosing whether or not to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings.

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Canaveral Port Authority CEO Capt. John Murray welcomes the news, but experts say there won’t likely be any major changes for passengers aboard the ships

“It’s great news that they’re lifting the travel restriction,’ Murray said. “It does show that the cruise lines are following their own protocols to the point the CDC is comfortable with their operations.”

Cruise industry expert Stewart “The Cruise Guy” Chiron- who’s been on 14 cruises since last June- says passengers can expect to see some COVID protocols remain in place.

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“I will tell you this will do nothing to change the health protocols the cruise industry has implemented,” Chiron said. “They will continue to adjust with the science. They’ll continue to require the negative COVID tests. They’ll continue to require passengers and crew to be vaccinated.”

The Cruise Lines International Association applauded the CDC’s removal of its travel health notice and said the move recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships, and begins to level the playing field between cruise and similarly situated venues on lands for the first time since March 2020.

“No one wants the industry to be operating safely more than the cruise lines, that’s the bottom line,” Capt. Murray said.

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Murray says a number of cruise ships are already operating at full capacity and bookings have been strong.

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