CDC releases framework for phased resumption of cruising

Written by Nick Blenkey
cruise ship at sea


Cruise line stocks soared today as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations.

The full framework runs to 40 pages of pretty detailed conditions of what cruise lines must do to get a “COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate” that needs careful study, but there’s evidently enough in the executive summary issue to excite Wall Street.

Considering the continued spread of COVID-19 worldwide and increased risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships, says CDC, a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations.

CDC is establishing requirements to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to passengers and crew, prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from cruise ships into U.S. communities, and protect public health and safety.

After expiration of CDC’s No Sail Order (NSO) on October 31, 2020, CDC will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters.

The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members.
CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crewmembers while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers.

Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and U.S. communities.

These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate COVID- 19 risk. CDC will issue additional orders as needed that will be published in the Federal Register and technical instructions that will be subsequently posted on CDC’s website.

The CDC order additionally announces requirements for the initial phases relating to crew testing. CDC considers adequate crew safeguards as demonstrated through laboratory testing for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, an integral part of the initial phases prior to resuming passenger operations.

  • Read the full 40 page CDC framework HERE


The Cruise Lines International Association issued the following statemeni:

“Guided by the recommendations of leading experts in health and science, including the Healthy Sail Panel (HSP), our members are 100% committed to helping to protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities we serve, and are prepared to implement multiple layers of protocols informed by the latest scientific and medical knowledge. We will continue to evolve our approach as circumstances evolve. The economic consequences of the ongoing suspension of service are felt in communities across the United States and with hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake, we are committed to resume sailing in a responsible manner that keeps public health in the forefront. We look forward to reviewing the order in greater detail and working with the CDC to advance a return to cruising from U.S. ports.

“CLIA members have been in a voluntary suspension of operations from U.S. ports for over seven months. In that time, CLIA member cruise lines have worked with leading outside experts in health and science to develop science-based measures to further strengthen public health protocols and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 for passengers, crews and destinations. With enhanced measures in place—including 100% testing for passengers and crew prior to boarding, mask-wearing, physical distancing requirements, highly controlled shore excursions and many more—CLIA members have gradually resumed sailing in Europe and other parts of the world with success.”

CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead gave the following quote:

“While we look forward to reviewing the new order in detail, we expect much of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations, which were adopted by CLIA’s Global of Directors earlier this month, have been considered and will serve as an important foundation. The cruise industry and the CDC have a long track record of working together in the interest of public health, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this legacy to support the resumption of cruising from U.S. ports. With enhanced measures in place, and with the continued guidance of leading experts in health and science as well as the CDC, we are confident that a resumption of cruising in the U.S. is possible to support the economic recovery while maintaining a focus on effective and science-based measures to protect public health.”

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