While many sectors of travel are reopening or showing more business, the cruise industry in the U.S. has remained at a standstill since March 2020.
Cruising has resumed in other major markets around the world but in the U.S., cruise companies have continued to push back their sail dates while waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift their no sail order, which is currently in effect through November 1st, 2021.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently requested the CDC to lift the order several months early.
“Over the past eight months, a highly controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific — with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets,” said Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s president and CEO. “These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19.”
In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that its no-sail order would remain in place until Nov. 1.
The CDC had set a “framework for conditional sailing order” back in September. The 65-page report includes 74 detailed best practices to protect the health and safety of guests and crew, along with that of the communities who depend on cruise ship arrivals.
Cruise lines have been working to comply with these requirements (and some put their own spin on it that goes above and beyond) and expected the CDC to update requirements or offer additional guidance or health modifications, as they said they would. To date, that has not happened.
“The lack of any action by the CDC has effectively banned all sailings in the largest cruise market in the world,” the CLIA said. “Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors.”
“Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Caitlin Shockey, spokesperson for the CDC. “Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review.”
Yeah – that interagency review has been going on for 6 months now.
So for now, at least, cruises out of the U.S. are officially not happening until at least November 1st.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary