Cruise Update! No-Sail Order Lifted!
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has let the no-sail order expire on October 31, 2020. The original No-Sail Order was issued on March 14, 2020 and has continuously been extended. Now, the CDC is allowing conditional, phased-in return to cruise line operations.
In this new “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” the first phase focuses on the crew members - not passengers - while cruise ship operators build lab capacity to test crew members and future passengers. Cruise Lines must show they can and will adhere to testing, social distancing, quarantining and isolating requirements if deemed necessary. After that, “test voyages” will be operated to check that ships meet specific requirements and are able to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The CDC said it considered recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel convened by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, as well as a medical conference by Carnival Corp. and another panel by MSC Cruises.
The Healthy Sail Panel is a partnership established by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines in order to develop a set of recommendations that will guide the cruise industry’s way forward in response to COVID-19. The Healthy Sail Panel identified five areas of focus every cruise operator should address to improve health and safety for guests and crew, and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:
A survey conducted by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) showed that 77% of cruisers are very likely or likely to take a cruise in the next two years. The survey also asked cruisers what enhanced protocols would make them feel it's safe to cruise. The top responses include:
Increased sanitation and cleaning protocols (45%)
Upgraded air filtration (39%) • Expanded shipboard medical resources (38%)
Shore excursions that follow stringent health protocols (36%)
Limited passenger capacity to facilitate social distancing (36%)
COVID-19 testing for passengers and crew before boarding (36%)