With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing a temporary extension to the Conditional Sailing Order, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents most cruise lines, has reacted.
CLIA Highlights Importance of Ongoing Dialogue with CDC
On October 25, the CDC announced that from November 1, 2021, the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order will have a temporary extension until January 15, 2022. It means the current guidelines and requirements will continue and apply for cruise ships operating in the U.S. except for Florida, where the CDC order is just a recommendation due to a recent lawsuit.
Once the Order ends in January 2022, there will be a transition to a new voluntary program in coordination with cruise lines. CLIA has also responded by highlighting the importance of working with the CDC and the fact that cruise operators can safely sail, keeping guests and crew members safe.
CLIA stated, “The changes to the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), announced today, show that the Biden Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations. We look forward to demonstrating the industry’s continued leadership in this final phase of the CSO, and to carrying out a smooth transition when the Order comes to an end on 15 January 2022.“
The cruise industry first suspended operations in March 2020, when the CDC introduced its No Sail Order. With no hope of resuming operations in 2020, the CDC came up with the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, but initially and through early 2021, the requirements and technical instructions were unworkable for the cruise lines.
The good news is that the CDC and the cruise industry finally started working together, and we started to see the first cruises depart from the U.S. just this past summer. Cruise lines have continued to resume operations but won’t be fully back with all ships until Spring 2022.
CLIA says, “Cruise industry protocols are unique in their approach to monitor, detect, and respond to potential cases of COVID-19. As a result, CLIA-member ocean-going cruise ships are sailing today with some of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation of any industry.”
“In addition, the economic impact of the cruise industry reaches every U.S. state, helping to support nearly 450,000 American jobs and reigniting local economies in places like Alaska, California, Florida, Texas, New York, and many other states that benefit from a vibrant cruise industry. These accomplishments are the result of ongoing dialogue and collaboration with the Biden Administration, as well as our members’ strong commitment to making cruise a model for responsible travel.“
Carnival Cruise Line has already decided to continue with its protocols through February 2022. Cruise lines have adapted to any updates from the CDC and have proved that cruise ships can operate safely. Carnival Cruise Line Ambassador John Heald posted following the CSO extension, “First of all some of you were posting and asking about the latest CDC announcement which really doesn’t change anything from our side. We have already announced how we will be operating and the protocols we will work with until the end of February and if there are any changes we will let you know of course in the usual way.”
One of the most recent updates from the CDC is for vaccinated guests to get tested within 48 hours before departure, which has been difficult for passengers. Still, some cruise lines have been making it easier with home tests and terminal testing.
The health and safety of cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations remain the industry’s highest priority. CLIA ocean-going cruise line members will continue to be guided by science and the principle of putting people first as we work with the Administration and the CDC to expand on our progress and build additional confidence in cruising as one of the safest vacation options, during the pandemic and beyond.
The temporary extension to the Conditional Sailing Order is due to the Delta variant and a continued concern of spread. With collaboration between cruise lines and the CDC, cruising is set to move forward safely.