The cruise industry, relatively dormant as a result of the pandemic, has shown some signs of resurgence in recent months. As the U.S. cruise industry is at a standstill due to CDC rules, several cruise lines have began to offer cruises in alternative markets and reported that their bookings have been strong.
For some cruise lines, the CDC’s rules have proven too much to take. That’s certainly the case for Carnival, who have threatened to pull out of the U.S. entirely if things don’t change. Here’s the latest from Carnival, and a look at the CDC’s latest cruise-related developments.
What’s The Problem? A Look At The CDC’s Restrictions
Last Friday, the CDC issued the next phase of its “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order”, designed to get cruises restarted in the US once more. It included a series of new requirements that cruise lines will need to follow in order to resume their operations once more.
The second phase provides instructions for cruise lines on:
- Increasing from weekly to daily the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses.
- Implementing routine testing of all crew based on each ship’s color status.
- Updating the color-coding system used to classify ships’ status with respect to COVID-19.
- Decreasing the time needed for a “red” ship to become “green” from 28 to 14 days based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
- Creating planning materials for agreements that port authorities and local health authorities must approve to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on their ships to include healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected people and quarantine those who are exposed.
- Establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel
Carnival Threatens To Leave US – What Travelers Should Know
As seen above, the CDC’s next phase features lots of hoops that cruise lines must jump through in order to be able to sail once more – and Carnival feels the treatment of the cruise industry is unfair.
Speaking about the matter, Carnival’s president Christine Duffy said:
“We don’t want to be treated any differently than any other part of travel, tourism or entertainment, and right now, we have been singled out.”
The feeling of unfair treatment is shared by many in the cruise industry, from those living in port towns to politicians with connections to cruise hotspots. Referencing the CDC’s treatment of the cruise industry, Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis threatened to explore legal options in a bid to cruises back on the water.
Whilst they may not have threatened to go to court, Carnival threatened to take action in a different way – by leaving the US entirely. “While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year,” Duffy said, before adding “if we’re unable to sail obviously, we will consider homeporting elsewhere.”
Changing home ports has proven to be a popular way of skirting the CDC’s restrictions for many cruise lines. Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have changed their home ports to islands in the Caribbean, allowing US travelers to board cruises after flying to those destinations and depriving the US of potentially billions of dollars in revenue. Should Carnival join the growing list of cruise lines that have moved home ports, it would add even more pressure to the already under-fire CDC.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories