(6:06 a.m. ET) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have lowered their COVID-19 Travel Health Notice (THN) for cruise ships, putting cruise ships a Level 2: Moderate. This is the second time in one month that the agency has lowered the THN for cruise ships.
Travel Health Notice levels from the CDC range between Level 4: Very high and Level 1: Low. Unlike the U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings which categorizes risk of travel, the CDC's THN levels categorize overall levels of COVID-19.
According to the CDC website, the "THN for cruise ship travel represents the status of the COVID-19 pandemic" at this time. The website also states that the THN levels for cruise ships are determined by relevant COVID-19 data reported from public health authorities along with COVID-19 reports from cruise ships.
Cruise ships under the CDC's Voluntary COVID-19 Program are required to submit daily reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-like illness onboard.
The CDC also notes that Travel Health Notices are subject to change at any given time, including from the date passengers book a cruise to their actual sailing date.
The previous Level 3: High THN for cruise ships, which was dropped down from the agency's highest notice level exactly one month ago on February 15, 2022 due to declining COVID-19 cases, had also advised all travelers to be fully vaccinated before cruising. The higher Level 3 notice also suggested that any non-vaccinated travelers avoid cruise ships, and all travelers at risk for severe illness from COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should avoid cruises.
The CDC's new and current Level 2: Moderate THN comes with the recommendation cruisers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations before cruising. Individuals at "increased risk for severe illness" who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are advised to continue to avoid cruise ships at this time.