In a major push to reopening the cruise industry in the United States, the Cruise Lines International Association has urged the CDC to end its Conditional Sailing Order and reopen cruises in the Summer.
This follows mounting pressure on the CDC after confusing answers from the CDC Director in a recent senate hearing, a letter from Miami-Dade Mayor requesting a meeting with the CDC on resuming cruises, cruise lines finding alternative ports outside the U.S., and more.
CLIA Urges CDC to Lift Conditional Sailing Order
In a new development on trying to get the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on allowing cruises, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has made an announcement.
The organization that represents 95% of global cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line, urges the CDC to lift the framework on the Conditional Sailing Order and allow cruises from U.S. ports by early July.
Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s President and CEO, said:
“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.
These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer.”
Growing Frustrations with the CDC
Cruise lines have been unable to sail from the U.S. since the first “No Sail Order” was implemented by the CDC a year ago. At the end of October, a new Conditional Sailing Order was then introduced so the cruise industry could start working on a safe return to service.
However, since then, we have not heard much from the CDC. The four-part framework on resuming cruises is still in stage 1 and is heading towards stage 2. Cruise Line has been waiting for further technical guidelines for months now, and the CD has remained silent on the whole situation.
“The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently. Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors.”
Cruise Ships Can Sail Safely
Even though there are many who are against the cruise industry, the fact is, cruise ships have already been operating safely for months. Cruises out of Singapore with Royal Caribbean and Dream Cruises have already reached more than 100,000 passengers since last year.
MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, and TUI Cruises have all proved operations can keep guests and crew safe in Europe and the Canary Islands. And more recently even the UK which was hard hit by the virus will allow domestic cruises from May 17, 2021.
“The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel.”
With no word from the CDC, cruise lines are being forced to find alternative solutions with Royal Caribbean Group already announcing new homeports in the Bahamas, St. Maarten, and Bermuda. Cruise lines are also in decisions on basing vessels out of Cozumel and Jamaica.
Also Read: Could Jamaica Be the Next Target for a Cruise Homeport?
Vaccines Play a Major Roll
The vaccine rollout across the United States is running nicely and this is allowing cruise lines to offer safe cruising for vaccinated guests.
Craighead also noted:
“The accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.”
CLIA is exploring protocols that will include vaccinations once they are widely available. Individual member lines also have their own measures depending on which country.
Worth Reading: When Will Cruises Resume in 2021?
The cruise industry has been hit hard since first suspending operations in March 2020. According to research by BREA, more than 3000,000 jobs have been lost due to the suspension of cruises in the United States.
Pressure is increasing on the CDC, and hopefully, we’ll hear something from them soon. With so many calls in the last week to allow cruising, this cannot be ignored. Keep checking Cruise Hive for all the latest developments on when cruises can resume.
Main Photo Credit: Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com