Cruises will be able to restart once cruise lines prove to the CDC that their COVID-19 protocols will work on cruise ships. The CDC considered letting cruise lines resume service without any public health oversight but deemed that choice unacceptable.
Cruise lines currently have all cruises canceled for November and most major cruise lines are still hoping to sail in December.
The CDC has laid out what cruise lines need to do to start sailing again. They will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship operations in U.S. waters.
The phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members. Subsequent phases will include simulated cruises to test cruise ship operator’s ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and U.S. communities.
This will apply to all cruise ships that carry over 250 passengers.
The Conditional Sail Order from the CDC can be read on their website.
Cruise lines have been working with health professionals over the past several months so they can safely resume cruises. Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have partnered together to create the Healthy Sail Panel.
Additionally, Carnival Corporation and MSC Cruises are working with doctors and other professionals to create protocols to keep guests and crew members safe.
The cruise lines are sharing information with each other so they can find the best path forward.
Cruise Fever will have more details when cruise lines formally announced their return to service.