The U.S. State Department has issued a new travel advisory calling U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, not to travel by cruise ship.
The U.S. State Department has issued a new statement saying “CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment” and advises travelers with underlying health conditions to avoid non-essential travel such as long plane trips and embarking on cruise ships.
In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking. In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures.
The statement continues that while the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.
What steps can you take to protect yourself from COVID-19
Leading health authorities are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season, such as the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who show signs of illness, including coughing or sneezing
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose immediately of the tissue and wash your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
Here’s what you need to know before you board your cruise
For travelers who are planning a trip in the near future the State Department has issued the following guidelines:
- Research your destinations and make a note of the address/phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in every country you plan to dock in, even if you don’t plan to disembark
- Always bring your passport in case of an emergency, even if your cruise says you won’t need it
- Make sure you have the right foreign visas for all of your stops, even if you do not plan to disembark
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get important travel and safety updates
- Get insurance coverage for medical, emergency evacuation, and other unexpected expenses while abroad
- Check with your doctor to see if you should travel. If you take any prescription/OTC medications, get written prescriptions and bring extra medication in case of delays
- Medications that are legally prescribed in the United States are not always legal abroad. Check with the destination country’s embassy or consulate about local laws regarding your prescribed medicines. For more information click here
- Follow local laws and customs. If you break the law, you will be subject to the justice system of the host country
For more information, visit travel.state.gov/cruise