US lifts all COVID-19 travel advisories for cruise ships

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) withdrew the warning to citizens about the risk of contracting covid-19 onboard cruise ships that have been in place for two years, a decision that was announced this Wednesday with joy from the cruise industry hit hard by the pandemic.

In 2020, the CDC issued an order not to sail cruise ships departing from United States ports due to the numerous cases of covid-19 registered onboard these tourist ships, which translated into millionaire losses for the companies.

The ban was maintained for 15 months. The first cruise ship to travel with passengers from the US was Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Edge, which sailed from Port Everglades (southeast Florida) on June 26, 2021.

The first reactions to the withdrawal of the warning were of satisfaction and highlighted the efforts of cruise companies to prevent the spread of covid-19, although there were also reproaches to the CDC for the delay in doing so.

Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages, declared himself “absolutely excited” in statements to media covering the cruise industry, whose main market in the world is the United States.

“While we believe this was a long time coming, we recognize this step as a demonstration of all the hard work this industry has put into ensuring we offer the safest way to travel. It’s refreshing to see them recognize where we are and clearly where our consumers are considering the huge increase in demand we’ve seen,” he added.

This decision “recognizes the effective public health measures implemented,” said the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in a statement sent to the EFE agency.

“Since the start of the pandemic, CLIA cruise line members have prioritized the health and safety of their guests, crew, and the communities they visit and cruise today with health measures that are virtually unmatched by any other cruise line,” he adds.

The president of Holland American Line, Gus Antorcha, stressed that the CDC has taken an “important step” by recognizing the work done by cruise lines “to create a healthy environment for passengers, crew members and the communities we serve.”

The cruise sector was one of the most affected by the travel restrictions related to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but, according to a recent study by the AAA Travel agency, linked to the largest motorist association in the US, is gaining strong momentum in 2022.

The study published on March 22 showed that cruise bookings made through AAA Travel in the four weeks leading up to that date doubled from the same period last year.

In fact, 23% of Americans are planning to take a cruise ship within two years, according to that study.

Anne Madison, a spokesperson for CLIA, which represents 90% of the companies that carry out ocean voyages, told EFE last December that by the end of July 2022 the sector will have recovered 100% of its capacity.

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