Norwegian Cruise Line has still not received a response from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention after a letter was sent on April 5, 2021. The CDC has not replied to the cruise company, and now another letter has been sent requesting a response.
Norwegian Cruise Line Wants a Response from the CDC
Cruise lines really want to resume operations, and Norwegian Cruise Line has been very vocal recently urging the CDC to lift its Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) by July 4, 2021. This was done in a letter sent to the CDC on April 5 detailing the company’s plan to resume sailings from the U.S safely.
It’s clear that the NCLH president and CEO, Frank Del Rio really wants a response and he believes that the Conditional Sailing Order that was first introduced at the end of October 2020 is outdated and ignores the advancement of vaccines across the U.S.
Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said:
“We strongly believe our proposal submitted to the CDC 10 days ago, which includes mandatory vaccinations for all guests and crew, offers a safe and immediate solution to resume cruising and eliminates the need for the obsolete CSO, which in its current form is impossible to operationalize and more importantly ignores the advancement of vaccines.”
The cruise company, which operated Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, and Oceania Cruises, does require all guests and crew to be vaccinated for the initial voyages from the U.S. Along with strict health protocols, including testing and developed by health experts, the cruise line says this exceeds the CDC’s CSO’s intent.
Del Rio continued to say:
“Our proposal goes well above and beyond the intent of the CSO and would greatly accelerate the path to resume cruising while freeing up the CDC’s valuable time and resources, allowing it to focus on its many other competing public health priorities. I continue to await further discussion with the CDC and I am respectfully requesting a prompt response to my written proposal to recommence cruising in July allowing us to join America’s national reopening.”
The Reminder Letter
Here is the follow-up letter sent from the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO, Frank Del Ro, sent on April 15:
Why Hasn’t the CDC Replied?
It’s a question many will be asking as the CDC has mostly remained silent when it comes to responding to letters related to the cruise industry. It is possible that the CDC does not want to get into a public exchange and prefers to do things behind the scenes.
Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Dan Sullivan, and Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to the White House COVID Response Coordinator urging to lift the Conditional Sailing Order. Still, they also never received a reply from the White House or CDC. However, we know that as recently as April 12, the Cruise Lines International Association met with the White House to discuss the current situation.
The technical intrusions that were released as part of the CSO caused more frustrations across the industry, and now pressure mounts for cruises to resume safely by July 4, 2021. The CDC has made some adjustments to its instructions which are only in phase two of a four-phase framework.
If cruise lines want to save the summer season, then the CDC really needs to allow operations to resume as soon as possible. Hopefully, the new dialogue on Monday will help push progress forward.
Norwegian Cruise Line has currently suspended operations in the U.S. through June 2021 and has already announced alternative homeports for the summer outside the U.S.