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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently replaced its No-Sail Order with a new “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” and the industry — associations, agents and cruise lines alike — is responding.
Cruise Lines International AssociationCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) was one of the first to issue a statement on the news, which reads as follows:
“Guided by the recommendations of leading experts in health and science, including the Healthy Sail Panel (HSP), our members are 100% committed to helping to protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities we serve, and are prepared to implement multiple layers of protocols informed by the latest scientific and medical knowledge.
We will continue to evolve our approach as circumstances evolve. The economic consequences of the ongoing suspension of service are felt in communities across the U.S. and with hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake, we are committed to resume sailing in a responsible manner that keeps public health in the forefront. We look forward to reviewing the order in greater detail and working with CDC to advance a return to cruising from U.S. ports.”
Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA, also shared that the organization expects that much of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations, which were adopted by CLIA’s Global Board of Directors earlier this month, to have been considered by CDC.
"The cruise industry and CDC have a long track record of working together in the interest of public health, and we look forward to continuing to build upon this legacy to support the resumption of cruising from U.S. ports.,” Craighead said. “With enhanced measures in place, and with the continued guidance of leading experts in health and science as well as CDC, we are confident that a resumption of cruising in the U.S. is possible to support the economic recovery while maintaining a focus on effective and science-based measures to protect public health.”
Cruise PlannersProviding a travel agent perspective, Cruise Planners’ CEO and founder, Michelle Fee, gave her response to CDC’s news:
"We have remained hopeful that CDC would provide a green light for the resumption of sailings with the No Sail Order expiring at the end of the month,” she said. “It is reassuring to learn we have a clear sense of direction on a phased-in approach and guidelines for a safe resumption of cruising.
The emphasis placed on preserving human life, safety of crew, port personnel and destination communities is evident across the 40-page framework. We applaud the travel industry for its efforts to minimize and prevent the introduction, transmission and spread of COVID-19 by devising and adapting to changing circumstances while prioritizing traveler's safety. This has been working well across all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and in Mexico and cruises sailing in Europe.
We are confident in the cruise lines’ abilities to implement the health and safety protocols. It will be a happy day when cruisers can return to the seas and travel advisors can help their clients plan their cruise vacations.”
American Society of Travel AdvisorsAmerican Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) also considered the impact on travel advisors in its official statement:
"While it does not equate to cruises resuming immediately, CDC’s replacement of the draconian ‘No-Sail Order‘ ’with a framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship operations is a welcome development and a key milestone in the restart of the travel industry.
We have petitioned the Administration and CDC over the course of nearly six months. Our ask: guidance on how cruise lines and travelers can manage health risks while cruising.
For too long, travel advisors, consumers and others in the industry have had to deal with the catastrophic economic consequences of the No-Sail Order. ASTA views this as a positive first step and urges CDC to work as expeditiously as possible with cruise lines, state and local public health authorities and other cruise community stakeholders to support the safe resumption of cruise operations from U.S. ports.”
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.And as for the cruise lines themselves, a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. provided the following:
"Today U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the ‘Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,’ a roadmap for the steps CDC will require for resumption of cruise voyages in the U.S. We will closely review the order and continue to partner with global and domestic authorities, including CDC, to chart a path forward.”
Royal Caribbean InternationalRoyal Caribbean International — whose parent Royal Caribbean Group worked on the Healthy Sail Panel with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. — shared this statement:
“Today’s announcement establishes a pathway for our ships to return to service, and that’s an important step in the right direction.
While we are eager to welcome our guests back onboard, we have a lot to do between now and then, and we’re committed to taking the time to do things right. This includes training our crew in new health and safety protocols and conducting a number of trial sailings to stress-test those protocols in real-world conditions.
We will continue to work closely with both CDC and the Healthy Sail Panel as we make our plans, and we are confident in our ability to mitigate the risks of the pandemic and protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail.”