CDC gives Cruise Lines the go ahead to resume sailings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s No Sail Order is set to expire tomorrow, October 31, 2020, and it will not be extended. Today, the CDC released an updated conditional sailing order for cruise ships that will allow cruise ships to start sailing in North America starting on Nov. 1.

Cruise lines can now pursue “a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations” with “a careful approach.” All cruise ships will have to meet specific requirements for recertification and only then will they be allowed to start a phased return to service. “These phases are subject to change based on public health consideration and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk,” the CDC said.

The CDC will also require testing and additional safeguards for crew members along with onboard facilities in place to test future passengers. All cruise lines will be required to do simulate voyages “to test cruise ship operator’s ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk.” The simulated, or “test”, voyages will be for volunteers like crew members and their families.

Even though sailings can resume November 1, it is unlikely any sailings will actually take place that soon.

“During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers,” the CDC said.

The CDC will issue additional orders as needed. Right now we know that the following is required for cruise lines to begin sailing again:

  • No itineraries longer than 7 days
  • Cruise lines must notify passengers of COVID-19 risk
  • COVID-19 screening for all passengers & crew before embarking
  • COVID-19 testing done the day of embarkation for all passengers & crew
  • Social distancing for dining and entertainment venues

There is no news on when specific cruise lines will begin operations. It will depend on how quickly they can modify their ships and get the new protocols in place.

Stay tuned for more cruising updates!

You can see the full CDC sail order here.


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Sara