Representatives for the two largest cruise operators, Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises, did not immediately respond to a question about whether the lines were communicating the CDC’s advice to recent passengers.
The CDC’s recommendation came in a travel warning Tuesday raising cruising to a Level 3 — “avoid nonessential travel” — status. The agency recommends travelers put off all cruise travel around the world, though it does not give a timeline for when it would be safe to start again. Most lines have canceled sailings until at least April.
“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 several cruise ships,” the warning said, referring to the disease caused by the virus.
At least nine oceangoing cruise ships have had confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard since late January, as well as several river cruises in the Nile.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many people had taken a cruise in the past two weeks; according to the Cruise Lines International Association, there were expected to be at least 272 ocean cruise ships sailing around the world by the end of 2019. Last year, an estimated 30 million people took a cruise.
The four largest cruise ships in the world alone, operated by Royal Caribbean International, would have been able to sail with more than 44,000 passengers over the past two weeks.