PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The CDC says people should avoid going on cruises due to the high spread of the Omicron variant.
However, if you have already planned a cruise for this year and still want to go, here is what you need to know.
“The cruise lines were gearing up for full itinerary and full occupancy and getting things back to normal and it was rolling along pretty well and then the new variant popped up,” Vickie Everhart with Krouse Travel said.
The Omicron variant has changed the way cruise ships are operating and Vickie Everhart with Krouse travel explains how cruise ships are working to keep everyone safe and healthy on board.
“Since they started returning to service, they have been cleaning and cleaning and cleaning," she said. "Especially with Omicron that is so highly transmissible, an area that they cleaned 30 minutes ago may now be contaminated, so they are really stepping up on that. They are continuing to keep people socially distanced and they are asking people to double mask or wear an N95 mask."
Everhart shares three tips to keep in mind when getting ready for your cruise.
One, make sure you've recently received a negative COVID-19 test.
“Cruise lines have partnered with some of the companies that provide these tests and they have a link right on their cruise line website," Everhart said. "Consider one of these kits that you can purchase ahead of time and have it at your home and do it within the time frame that is required and have your results back."
Three, wear a mask.
The CDC has issued an order that requires passengers and crew members to wear masks at all times on board unless specified in outdoor areas.
“Be prepared to wear the double mask or purchase a higher quality mask perhaps for when you’re on board,” Everhart said.
The CDC recommends people get tested 1 to 3 days before their trip and 3 to 5 days after regardless of vaccination status.
So, if you’re planning to set sail this year, Everhart suggests getting prepared by staying up-to-date with the latest CDC cruise guidelines and making sure to take the time to enjoy your vacation.
“Relax and enjoy," she said. "You’re going to be able to get out of this ice and snow that we’re sitting in right now and sit in the sunshine somewhere.”