Miami-based cruise line drops COVID testing requirement as travel surges

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Miami-based cruise line Azamara has dropped its pre-boarding coronavirus testing requirement Monday as summer travel surges. 

The cruise line announced that it has removed the requirement except at "ports where it is still required in accordance with country regulations." In those cases, guests will still need a negative COVID-19 test before sailing, according to Azamara. 

Even though the company dropped the requirement, it still recommends that travelers get tested. 

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"Azamara recommends that all guests departing from any port get tested at their leisure prior to travel to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience, but those results will not be required to board an Azamara vessel," the company said in a statement. 

The company will also still require guests to show proof of vaccination before boarding its ships. 

Azamara drops its COVID-19 embarkation testing requirement except at ports where it is still required in accordance with country regulations.  (Azamara )

According to Azamara President Carol Cabezas, the easing of this testing policy "marks a step in the right direction towards a return to normalcy for the travel and cruising industry." 

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However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still urging passengers to get tested no more than three days before boarding a cruise ship, regardless of a cruise line's testing requirements. This includes passengers who are vaccinated. 

The agency also recommends travelers get tested three to five days after their trip even if they have no symptoms.

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In December, the CDC warned people to avoid cruises due to the omicron variant sparking outbreaks. 

The CDC said the "virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high," even if people are fully vaccinated and have received a booster. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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