CDC Lifts No-sail Order for Cruise Ships from 1st November 2020In a positive step forward for the cruise industry, the CDC have officially lifted the temporary 'No Sail Order' on cruise ship voyages sailing to and from the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a framework that will see cruise ships resuming services through a careful phased return of operations.
The framework, which was released on Friday 30th October, is an in-depth outline of the testing requirements that cruise lines must meet for 'conditional sailing'. Following testing and additional safeguarding for crews, cruise lines must simulate fifteen voyages to prove the steps taken onboard to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. After meeting these requirements, cruise lines will be certified to begin a phased return to operations with passengers.
The testing and safeguarding requirements for crew will included:
- Laboratory screening and testing for Covid-19 shoreside of all current crew onboard
- Onboard testing for both crew and future passengers
- Shoreside Covid-19 testing for new crew members
- Ongoing compliance from cruise ship crew and operators, with a complete No Sail Order Response plan
Given the thorough measures set out by the CDC, we may not see a return to cruising in the United States for some time, but it is a huge step forward in learning how to enjoy cruise holidays safely. Numerous cruise lines - including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line - have already collaborated successfully on bringing together health panels in order to meet these requirements, and we're excited to see more of our partners do just this.
Meanwhile, Italian cruise lines such as MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises have seen a successful return to sailing for Schengen residents in Europe after providing strict measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19. These measures include testing at embarkation, onboard and after excursions onshore, maintaining social distancing, frequent sanitisation of venues and cabins, and creating a 'social bubble' for visits to port. All of these measures have so far proven successful in allowing guests to enjoy cruise holidays and we hope to see these cruise lines extend operations to guests further afield, after calls for a 'cruising corridor' in the United Kingdom.