Cruising from the United States has officially been given the green light by the CDC. The no sail order was lifted on October 30th, giving the U.S. cruise industry permission to resume operations.
Before cruise ships return to the seas, many changes and systems will have to be put into place over the next 60 days that will allow for cruise lines to return safely.
For cruise ships to start sailing, they'll have to be rewarded with a conditional sail certificate from the CDC that takes 60 days for approval. Given the current timeline, we can estimate large cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian to resume sailings in early January, 2021.
Here's everything passengers need to know about cruise ships returning to the U.S. and the big changes to expect onboard.
Length of Cruises
Passengers who love long cruises are out of luck. The CDC has limited all itineraries to a maximum of 7 days. The CDC can also shorten or lengthen the maximum at anytime based on public health.
Cruise Lines Must Notify Passengers of CDC Warning
All cruise lines must notify passengers prior to booking their reservation of any ‘CDC travel advisory, warning or recommendation' relating to cruise travel.
The warning must also include the risk of a cruise being immediately ended if a certain threshold of COVID-19 is found on board.
This includes the possibility of cruise ships having to immediately return to their port of embarkation and travelers facing delays or restrictions on returning home.
All Passengers and Crew Will Be Tested For COVID-19
Under the new conditional sail order, all passengers will be tested for COVID-19 on the day of embarkation and disembarkation following all CDC technical requirements.
All Passengers and Crew Will Be Screened For COVID-19
All passengers and crew will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 on each embarkation day. Any passenger or crew member showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be denied boarding the ship.
Passengers and Crew Showing Any Symptoms Of COVID-19 Onboard Will Be Tested
If any passenger or crew member shows symptoms of COVID-19 at anytime during the sailing, they will be immediately tested and isolated if required. Close contacts of the passenger that is showing symptoms may also be tested.
Transparency With CDC
All cruise lines will report all laboratory COVID-19 test results to the CDC.
Hygiene Onboard Cruise Ships
Cruise lines must meet all hygiene measures for passengers and crew following the guidelines of the CDC including:
- hand hygiene
- face coverings
- ship sanitation
- social distancing
What this means for passengers: Masks will be required in all public settings as per the CDC recommendation which reads the “CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.”
Over the course of the next 60 days, cruise lines will also be running simulation cruises to ensure they are following all guidelines set out by the CDC in order to be issued their ‘conditional sailing certificate'.
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Originally Published: November 2nd, 2020
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