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CDC’s Letter: Resumption of Cruise Operations by July?



cruise operations

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention letter, cruise operations could resume by July. Aimee Treffiletti, the head of the Maritime Unit for CDC, wrote that “cruising will never be a zero-risk activity”. Treffiletti added that “the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID19 transmission onboard cruise ships”.

Cruise operations are at a standstill. Despite the willingness to follow health protocols, cruises can’t operate. One of the main things holding back the cruise industry is the conditional sailing order. However, from cruise executives to elected officials, many are pressuring the CDC to lift the conditional sailing order. Cruises already looked for different homeports while Alaska and Florida sued the federal government for holding back cruise operations in the US.

What to Expect from the CSO Framework?

CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey mentioned that in the past months, the agency met with representatives from the cruise industry. The Framework for Conditional Sailing Order was discussed. Among key questions include the fastest path to sailing while maintaining safety.

CDC later clarified the letter sent to the industry. Here are five key clarifications to the CSO framework.

  1. Vaccination

Ships can bypass the simulated voyages and proceed to open water sailing with passengers if 98% of its crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.

  1. 60-Day Waiting Period

Applications for simulated voyages will only take 5 days instead of 60 days. This makes it easier for cruise ships to open water sailing sooner.

  1. Testing

CDC will provide updates on its quarantine and testing requirements. However, those who completed their vaccination will no longer need to undergo NAAT testing. Fully vaccinated individuals can just take a simple NAA or antigen test.

  1. Port Agreements

CDC allows cruise ship operators to have a multi-port agreement as long as local health authorities sign the agreement.

  1. Quarantine Housing

CDC also clarified the ventilation systems that should be present on ships. Plus, local passengers should be allowed to quarantine from home if they are within driving distance.

Could it allow the cruise industry to operate by mid-July?