Recently, the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, beginning the key steps required for cruise lines to safely resume sailing in U.S. waters.
This detailed a ‘phased approach’ for sailing to resume in American waters in a safe and responsible manner. From the 1st November, cruise lines are able to operate itineraries with no passengers on-board, allowing them to demonstrate the prevention measures crew have implemented as well as compliance with the CDC measures.
This is a welcomed announcement for the industry as its a positive step forward to prepare for the full return of cruising as we know and love. The announcement also comes shortly after CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) revealed a framework created in collaboration with the UK Chamber of Shipping, outlining the specification UK cruise lines must follow in order to begin sailing safely once more.
The framework features the details of initial phases, which will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members, ensuring cruise ship operators have adequate protections and there is suitable laboratory capacity to test future passengers. Subsequent phases will test the cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, award certification for ships which meet specific requirements and outline a complete phased approach for passenger voyages in a matter which mitigates the risk of not only crew, but guests and among U.S. communities.
The next step for the American cruise lines is believed to include mock sailings with volunteer guests such as crew members or their families, similar to the shakedown cruises when new or refurbished ships enter service.
The CDC said: “During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers.”
This new order is in place until:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or;
- 1 November 2021
Read our latest updates on the health and safety protocols of the cruise lines, here.