Cruise lines have been sent a letter by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicates that cruises from U.S. ports could resume in mid-July, reports USA Today, which has obtained a copy of the letter.
The CDC has been under gathering pressure to end its ban, which has had a devastating economic impact, particularly on Florida and Alaska.
The USA Today report cites CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey as saying that cruise liness could begin passenger voyages from the United States in mid-July, depending on their pace and compliance with the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO). Reportedly that guidance has been modified in a number of ways, including allowing ships to bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
The first public cruise industry response to the letter came from Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain in an earnings call with financial analysts this morning.
“Last night, the CDC issued multiple very constructive clarifications and amplifications of its conditional sail order,” Fain said. “They’ve addressed many of the items that concerned us in the order, in a manner that takes into account the recent advances in vaccines and medical science. We believe that this communication really helps us to see a clear and achievable pathway forward to a safe and healthy cruising in the near future.”
“We now have high hopes that if these details can be resolved quickly, it could be possible to restart cruising by mid-July,” he added.