Sign Up for Our Monthly Cruise Newsletter
On April 9, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an extension of its “No Sail Order” for all cruise ships. But what does that mean exactly, and how is the cruise industry responding?
The order essentially translates into a continuation of the CDC’s Level 3 warning for cruises saying to avoid it as nonessential travel.
Specifically, it reads as follows: “This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of three situations. First, the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency. Second, the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations. Or third, 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
Therefore, cruising — per the government agency — is suspended for 100 days into mid-July, unless the CDC changes the order.
Contrary to that statement, individual cruise lines are still publicly listing a resumption of service as early as May. Although unlikely, this is technically still possible if the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) presents a feasible plan for protecting passengers, and the CDC approves the plan beforehand.
CLIA has issued a response to the CDC order, which in part reads: “We value our relationship with the U.S. authorities, and will continue to work with these important agencies in our shared commitment and priority for the health and safety of passengers and crew. We are, however, concerned about the unintended consequences of the order in singling out an industry that has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols, including the aforementioned proposals as well as transparent in its reporting despite numerous challenges beyond the industry's control.
While it's easy to focus on cruising because of its high profile, the fact is cruising is neither the source nor cause of the virus or its spread. What is different about the cruise industry is our reporting requirements. It would be a false assumption to connect a higher frequency in reporting to increased risk/frequency of infection.”
The question remains: Why is the CDC not holding flights — which have passengers in even closer confinement than a cruise ship — to the same elevated standards or even having them cease operations, as well?
The DetailsCruise Lines International Associationwww.cruising.org
Read more from TravelAge West about the COVID-19 outbreak.