After more than a year, the cruise industry is slowly creeping out of the woods. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows the resumption of cruise operations in the US. The only catch is that majority of the passengers and crew should be fully vaccinated.
According to a CDC spokesperson, cruises can operate in the US from mid-July onwards depending on their compliance to the conditional sailing order.
Cruise stocks soared after CDC announced the resumption of US cruise lines by July. And this is understandable. According to 64% of Cruise Critic readers, they are going to book a cruise if the CDC allowed cruises this summer.
In October 2020, CDC issued a conditional sailing order to replace the no-sail order. This required cruise operators to conduct test cruises and apply 60 days in advance to be able to accept passengers. Now, CDC will review applications in just 5 days. According to the CDC letter, cruise ships can proceed to operate without any test cruises if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers completed their vaccine doses. And also, instead of a PCR test, a rapid antigen test upon embarkation can be done instead.
The cruise industry welcomed the announcement by the CDC, Richard D. Fain, the Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said that “the CDC notified us of some clarifications and amplifications of their Conditional Sail Order which addressed uncertainties and concerns we had raised”. He added that “They have dealt with many of these items in a constructive manner”. Royal Caribbean’s Chairman and CEO is excited in time for the Alaskan season.
Alaska was mentioned since CDC allows that cruise lines can enter a “multi-port agreement”. All port and local authorities simply need to sign an agreement.
Alaska receives $1.35 billion from the cruise industry annually. And recently, it also suffered another blow when Canada extended its cruise ban until February 2022. With multi-port agreements, it is possible to sail to Alaska without stopping in Canada. Normally, there are cruise ships from Seattle that would spend a day in either Vancouver or Victoria.
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