Are the new guidelines for a resumption of cruising from US ports finally on the way? According to a message Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava posted on Twitter, we should see a release from the Centers for Disease Control soon.
The release we expect to see is phase two of the Conditional safe sailing order, which will allow cruise lines to start test cruises from US ports, one of the requirements before sailing with passengers will be allowed.
Guidelines to be Issued Shortly?
The Miami Dade Mayor requested a meeting with the CDC’s Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, last week, as reported on Cruise Hive, and this meeting has now taken place. The discussion between the Mayor and Director of the CDC focussed mainly on the return of cruising to US ports. The Mayor had this to say in a statement after the meeting occurred:
“We were very encouraged by our call today with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Division Director Dr. Martin Cetron, and the CDC team to discuss the safe return of cruising in the US. I was impressed by the Director’s knowledge of the industry and her empathy to the economic hardships the loss of this business has caused.”
The CDC Director also told the Mayor that the second set of technical guidelines will be issued shortly, something many have been eagerly waiting for for months now:
“We are excited the CDC will shortly be issuing new guidelines for a restart to cruising, taking into consideration the advancements made possible by the vaccine, and we are eager to work with the CDC and cruise industry as a positive partner and resource. Some may want to sue, but we want to sail, and we are ready to collaborate to make sure the Cruise Capital of the World can lead the way to rebuild this critical industry. “
The comments made by the Mayor should be taken with a grain of salt, as it is not the first time the CDC has said it would be issuing the technical guidelines for phase two of the Conditional sailing order ‘within days.’
Guidelines Could be Outdated
Michael Bayley, the Royal Caribbean President, was a positive and forward-looking person just over 40 days ago when he announced the CDC’s technical guidelines were expected to arrive within days. This week the President of the second largest cruise company worldwide expressed his concern that if the guidelines are released, they will be outdated.
This sentiment comes as no surprise. While the Mayor of Miami Dade says the guidelines will incorporate the newest advances in the delivery of vaccines, the actual guidelines have been under review with other departments, according to the CDC Director in a statement last month.
Michale Bayley said the following in a webinar with travel professionals:
‘We’re concerned, it’s been many, many months since we’ve had any guidance and we’re worried the guidance we’re going to get is going to be pretty outdated.’
Royal Caribbean has been steadily working on a full-on restart of cruises outside of the US. With the experience the line has with sailings in Singapore, Royal Caribbean has a good understanding of what it takes to sail safely during a pandemic.
It remains to be seen whether the CDC will take the experiences from the cruise lines elsewhere into account, or if it will be sailing its course and ignore the experience and knowledge of the cruise lines, something it has been steadily doing in the last year.
If the guidelines are released this week, they are up to date and reflect the latest experiences and knowledge the cruise lines have gathered, then maybe, just maybe, we can start getting back to normal.