Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called on US authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the existing framework for conditional sailing order (CSO) and allow for the phased resumption of cruises in US waters from July.
Clia president and CEO Kelly Craighead said: “The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently.
“Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors.”
CLIA and the cruise community are calling on the US CDC to lift the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and allow for the planning of a phased resumption of cruise operations from U.S. ports by the beginning of July. #ReadySetSail ➡️ https://t.co/9i6xr2nohH
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— Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) (@CLIAGlobal) March 24, 2021
Cruise ships are currently prohibited from operating out of US ports by a series of CSOs, the last of which was issued in October 2020 and outlined a “framework of actionable items for the cruise line industry to follow.” Since then the CDC has not released any other guidance.
Craighead added: “Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific – with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets.
“These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of Covid-19.
“Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer.”
But the CDC is sticking to its guns, and put out a statement to TravelPulse that read: “On October 30, 2020, CDC issued Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) that remains in effect until November 1, 2021. Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review.”
Royal Caribbean International CEO Richard Fain expressed his frustrations during yesterday’s (March 24) Coffee Talk with Vicki Freed, when he said: “Interestingly, [CSO] calls for a four-phase process, and now we’re four months into it, and we’re still in phase one and don’t know what’s required for phase two. Science has moved ahead of the conditional no-sail order. Back in October last year, we thought that was a very positive move by the CDC, but now it’s time. We and our Healthy Sail Panel and others in the industry feel that it is time to move on in light of dramatic changes we’ve seen in three areas–vaccine, testing and contact tracing. … The time has come to acknowledge the changes in medical science and move forward.”
(Photo by Kevin Bluer)