As pressure mounts on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to allow the resumption of cruise operations, there has now been a response. The CDC says that there is a possibility of cruises being able to resume in mid-summer.
However, could this just be false hopes or a genuine hint of a full lifting of the Conditional Sailing Order that was first introduced at the end of October 2020?
Restricted Sailings from Mid-Summer
The summer cruise season from the U.S. may still be saved after the latest comments from the CDC. Pressure has been mounting on the CDC to lift its Conditional Sailing Order, which is currently in place until November 1, 2021.
With the major cruise lines, ports, and state officials urging the CDC to allow cruises to resume by the summer, we’ve had a positive response. According to a report on Bloomberg, A CDC spokeswoman has said that “CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order.”
She went on to say “This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers; hopefully, by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings.”
This response has come after Norwegian Cruise Line recently sent a letter to the government agency asking that cruises from the U.S. be allowed by July 4, 2021, for vaccinated guests. It also comes as Royal Caribbean and now Norwegian Cruise Line shift vessels to alternative homeports outside the U.S.
Even “America’s cruise line,” Carnival Cruise Line is starting to lose patience. The Miami-based cruise line has extended its pause on U.S. operations through June and the president said “We are asking that the cruise industry be treated on par with the approach being taken with other travel and tourism sectors, as well as U.S. society at large,” she went on to say “While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year.”
Is It More False Hopes?
We’ve been in this situation before when the CDC ended its No-Sail Order and introduced the Conditional Sailing Order. At that time, it was looking good for cruises to get restarted by the new year.
We all know how that turned out! there were further suspensions and the first phase of the four-phased framework on the Conditional Sailing Order had not been changed for five months. Only last week, the CDC moved to the first part of Phase two with technical instructions that provide no clear details and timeline on when cruises can resume.
In the CDC’s statement, an important part mentioned is “to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order.” This could mean that nothing has really changed and that the phased framework will remain in place for cruise lines and ports to work through.
It could mean that cruises will resume mid-summer depending on how fast the industry can work through the technical instructions and move on to the following phases. Cruise lines need around 90 days to get going again, and time is running out.
The only other way the CDC order could be lifted is if the Director decides to rescind the order or when the health crisis comes to an end. It all remains very fluid as the cruise industry does all it can to survive. Keep checking Cruise Hive for all the latest developments.