n this Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 photo, The Carnival Dream cruise ship arrives as construction work is underway for Carnival Cruise Line’s new Terminal F, which will be the homeport to the Carnival Celebration cruise ship at PortMiami, in Miami. Cruise companies are adapting to a changing landscape amid a rise in COVID-19 cases that is threatening to dampen the industry’s comeback.
In this Tuesday, June 22, 2021 photo, the Celebrity Edge cruise ship is docked at Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruise companies are adapting to a changing landscape amid a rise in COVID-19 cases that is threatening to dampen the industry’s comeback.
In this Saturday, June 26, 2021 photo. The Celebrity Edge is moored at Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Cruise companies are adapting to a changing landscape amid a rise in COVID-19 cases that is threatening to dampen the industry’s comeback.
MIAMI (AP) — Joel Steckler was eager for his first cruise in more than a year and a half, and he chose the ship that just two months ago became the first to accept passengers again after a long pandemic shutdown.
Steckler was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and that was enough to resume cruising, under initial guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now, the 63-year-old from Long Island, New York, is going to postpone the trip he had planned for Saturday amid new, tighter guidelines prompted by the delta-variant-fueled surge in cases and breakthrough infections.
“You just have to make a personal decision,” said Steckler, who takes medication that suppresses his immune system and changed his plans after consulting his doctor. “You don’t want to be in a position where you are sick on a cruise and you have to fly home or somehow get home.”
Cruise lines have detected infections among vaccinated crew members and passengers, including in an elderly traveler who recently died. Last Friday, the CDC began advising travelers who are at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness to avoid cruises. It is also recommending that passengers show both a recent negative COVID test and proof they’ve been immunized.
In addition to the surging delta virus, the CDC changed its cruise guidelines for high-risk groups because of the close proximity of ship passengers, the limited options for care on board and the challenges of medically evacuating travelers at sea, Centers spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Tuesday.