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Cruises embark out of New Orleans days after CDC warning

Published: Jan. 2, 2022 at 11:47 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people not to travel on cruise ships because of a surge of COVID-19 cases aboard the ships.

The agency raised it’s threat level from 3 to 4 on Thursday (Dec. 30), indicating the risk for becoming infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.

Many passengers arriving back to the Port of New Orleans on Sunday (Jan. 2) said they were unaware of the CDC’s heightened alert, having spent the past seven days at sea.

“I still would have gone on the cruise regardless,” said Chad Stout, who disembarked from the Carnival Glory. “It is what it is. I’ve had COVID. I got the shot.”

Passengers also arrived at the port Sunday morning to board those same ships for their afternoon departures. Some said they were aware of the warning, but that it was simply too late to cancel without penalty or financial loss.

Neil and Dawn Schoon, from Denver, were among dozens of passengers lined up Sunday to get rapid-tested ahead of boarding the Norwegian Breakaway.

“It is what it is,” Neil Schoon said. “If we didn’t take the cruise, we’re out our money.”

“I’ve been watching my email like a hawk, waiting for Norwegian to say it’s canceled,” Dawn Schoon said.

Health educator Dr. Eric Griggs said with the Omicron variant so transmissible even among vaccinated people, it’s no surprise so many outbreaks have been reported on cruise ships over the last few weeks.

“It’s a closed, shared space for over a long period of time,” said Dr. Griggs.

“It’s not just a few hours. You’re on there for days, if not weeks, with people that could be infected. And the nature of Omicron is such that it’s so contagious.”

While many are unwilling to cancel or lose money, Dr. Griggs advises that if you haven’t booked your trip yet, it’s a good idea to hold off for now.

“It’s really, really tough, because people need that break,” Dr. Griggs said. “But now is just not the time.”

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