(10:55 a.m. EST) -- The Centers for Disease Control raised its warning for cruise ship travel to "Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19" last night.
"The CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high," the warning states.
Although not a blanket ban on cruising (the CDC lifted this in October), the warning is yet another hammer-blow for the industry, which is currently trying to implement the CDC's 74-point framework for a healthy return to cruise.
As well as avoiding all cruise travel, the Level 4 warning states:
• Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
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• Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
• If you don't get tested, it's safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel.
The CDC's warning is for U.S. citizens only; in the U.K. the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has a warning against ocean cruising only.
The move comes just days after a SeaDream cruise from Barbados had to be cut short because seven people tested positive onboard, including a group of five traveling together.
Meanwhile cruise lines continue to cancel further and further out into next year in an attempt to put in place the 74 measures demanded by the CDC for a safe return to cruising from US shores.
But with coronavirus still running rampant across the US (the person who brought COVID-19 onto SeaDream I was a US citizen) it looks unlikely that cruising will restart from the US in earnest anytime soon.