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CDC Removes No Sail Order For U.S. Cruising

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The CDC will officially let the current no sail order expire tomorrow on October 31, 2020.

The executive summary documents read:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations.”

royal caribbean ship with waterslides

“After expiration of CDC’s No Sail Order (NSO) on October 31, 2020, CDC will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters.”

Starting on November 1, 2020 the framework for cruises to resume sailing under the new “Conditional Sailing Order” will officially begin, but it won’t mean an immediate return for passengers.

Passengers baording msc ship

These Conditional Sailing order details were posted this morning on the CDC website:

This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until the earliest of

  • The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
  • The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
  • November 1, 2021
Celebrity Edge

The first ships to return to open waters will likely be test runs to scientifically prove ships and their crew members are in fully in compliance with CDC standards and there are successful protocols in place to control the potential spread of the virus onboard.

Cruise industry experts were looking at the many signs that the No Sail Order would be lifted, as new updates were made to the CDC's level of travel warning for cruise ship travel, and that Carnival was seen re-staffing ships bound for the Caribbean earlier this week. 

Carnival Liberty

On October 26th The CDC warned all U.S. travelers against cruise ship travel worldwide, coming just prior to the announcement of the No Sail Order expiry.

The level 3 warning states that the “CDC recommends that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.”

The reasoning behind the warning says “Widespread ongoing spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reported in some countries. Other countries have reported sustained community spread.”

Carnival Horizon

Back on March 14th, the CDC issued the no sail order citing “that cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit, or spread COVID-19”. Since March, the no sail order has been renewed, month after month, until today.

costa diadema

With the cruise industry restarting around the world in Italy, Malta, Singapore and the Caribbean, more than 10 cruise lines have now resumed operations. 

Two of the largest cruise lines to successfully resume cruising so far without a single case of COVID-19 are Costa Cruises and MSC which have paved a pathway for COVID-19 prevention on board. 

Canada cruise port

While the lifting of the No Sail Order is great for US based cruisers, The Canadian government has announced that large cruise ships will not be allowed until at least the end of February, 2021.

So when can eager cruisers expect to be able to sail again in the USA?

There is still a chance for cruising to resume before the end of 2020, especially for the holidays. Within the next few days and weeks, we expect to see all the major cruise lines release their updated plans and schedules. 

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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