CDC Makes Multiple Updates to the Conditional Sailing Order

The CDC makes multiple updates to its Conditional Sailing Order making it easier for cruise lines to restart operations out of the U.S. safely.

As the cruise lines and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to find to work through the issues on resuming cruise operations, multiple updates and clarifications have been made.

The CDC has made a range of updates to its Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), which impacts restricted and simulated voyages, technical instructions on the crew members, and general clarifications on testing passengers. There are several updates across the framework of the CSO.

CDC Conditional Sailing Order Updates

Updates from the CDC came out on May 14 as cruise lines continue to work through the issues for a safe return mid-summer. Four been sections have been added to the operations manual for simulated and restricted voyages, mainly focusing on the testing aspect for passengers. There are also updates on testing for the crew members.

The CDC goes into detail on what cruise lines need to do when it comes to testing, with most of the process being done during embarkation. Here are the new sections added for the operations manual for simulated and restricted voyages:

  • Screening of Embarking Passengers for Restricted Voyages
  • Testing of Embarking and Disembarking Passengers for Restricted Voyages
  • Test Selection and Specifications for Passenger Screening Testing on Restricted Voyages
  • Onboard COVID-19 Testing for Symptomatic Passengers and their Close Contacts

The new updates, which you can read fully here, are encouraging signs and more acceptable for passengers and crew who are fully vaccinated.

CDC Headquarters
Photo Credit: Rob Hainer /

Cruise Lines are Moving Forward

The CDC is making constant updates on the Conditional Sailing Order that was first introduced at the end of October 2020. Since the agency and cruise lines started constructive discussions on the unworkable instructions, things have recently started to move forward with the hope of resuming operations from the U.S. in July.

President & CEO of Royal Caribbean Michael Bayley, said:

“Late last night we received multiple updates to the CSO from the CDC. All reflect the significant progress made with the vaccines. Reading the updates last night and this morning give me increased optimism. Today the light at the end of this long dark tunnel is bright. One step at a time!”

The cruise lines will have to go through the new updates and start making preparations on what is mainly on the testing aspect of the CSO for guests and crew. Out of the big three cruise lines that operate from the U.S., only Norwegian Cruise Line has so far committed to fully vaccinated crew and passengers.

Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have not yet announced their plans from the U.S. on passenger vaccinations. However, cruise lines have already started vaccinating crew members in Galveston, Miami, Port Canaveral and Mobile.

Updates continue to be made, and it’s likely more changes are on the way from the CDC and the cruise lines to make sure a safe return to operations can finally happen this summer.


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