The CDC has sent a letter to cruise lines saying that cruises could resume from U.S. ports by the middle of July giving the industry some hope for a summer restart.
A spokesperson for the CDC told USA Today that a timeline for resuming cruises will depend on cruise lines’ pace and compliance with the CSO (Framework for Conditional Sailing Order). The cruise industry said a month ago that the CSO was unworkable.
For cruises to restart by the middle of July, cruise lines will need to send the CDC their Phase 2A port agreements in the near future.
The letter that the CDC sent to the cruise industry stated: “We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities.”
One phase of the CSO are simulated test cruises. The CDC said that cruise lines can bypass the test voyages if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated.
Cruises from the U.S. have been on pause since March 13, 2020. Over 20 cruise lines will be sailing this summer from ports outside the U.S.
Several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises are moving cruise ships away from U.S. ports so they can return to service as early as June.