Cruise Lines Ask CDC to Lift Ban on Cruising

Wednesday, March 24, the Cruise Line International Association released a statement asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the ban on cruising known as the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and to allow for cruise lines to begin planning for sailings to resume from United States ports starting in July 2021.

This July goal would in line with President Biden’s timeilne for when the United States will be achieving a “closer to normal” status following the vaccine rollout.

“Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific—with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer,” said Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s President and CEO.

“The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel,” she added. Craighead also noted “the accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.”

“The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel,” she added. Craighead also noted “the accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.”

According to the statement, while some cruise lines have announced a few sailings catering to those who have received vaccinations, CLIA does not currently have a policy related to vaccines. The organization and its members are exploring a workable approach for how to consider vaccinations, once widely available, as part of robust protocols.

The restarting of cruises from U.S. ports would provide a much needed boost to not only the industry but the economy as a whole. The cruise industry supports nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributing over $55.5 billion annually. Based on economic modeling by research firm BREA, more than 300,000 jobs have been lost in the United States due to the suspension of cruises. The majority of those impacted are independent business owners or individuals employed by small- to medium-sized businesses—including travel agents, taxi drivers, port employees, baggage handlers, and longshoremen, as well as airline, hotel, and restaurant workers.

Cruise lines have started releasing itineraries for 2022 and many of those cruises are quickly selling out. This shows a desire by travelers to return to cruising and is a very promising sign for the stuggling industry.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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