Last October, the CDC laid out a four phase approach to their Conditional Sail Order. Five months later, the CDC finally updated Phase 2 and added a new Phase 2B. The new phased approach is as follows:
- Phase 1: Mass testing and lab capacity building
- Phase 2A: Voyage preparation
- Phase 2B: Simulated (trial) passenger voyages
- Phase 3: Conditional sailing certificate
- Phase 4: Restricted passenger voyages
However, many in the industry think that this new guidance brings us no closer to seeing cruises resume from U.S. ports.
Capt. John Murray, CEO at Port Canaveral, gave the following statement: “For a year now, we have been working closely with our cruise partners and directly with the CDC to find a way forward for the return of cruising from Port Canaveral. Just today CDC announced vaccinated Americans could safely travel internationally. We’re disappointed that this guidance for the cruise industry appears to be nothing more than an incremental step in a far-reaching process to resume passenger sailings in the U.S. with no definitive or target start date.”
Details of each phase of the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order.
- Conduct screening and testing of all crew onboard
- Develop onboard lab capacity for testing symptomatic crew, close contacts, and future passengers
- Conduct embarkation testing of all crew
- Implement routine screening of all crew
- Develop port, medical, and housing agreements approved by port and local health authorities
- After agreements are approved, embark nonessential crew with testing and 14 day quarantine
- Request approval from CDC to conduct simulated (trial) voyage
- Conduct simulated voyage (subject to in-person and virtual CDC inspections)
- Complete after action report
- Meet CDC’s standards for protection of crew in U.S. waters
- Fulfill requirements for simulated voyages
- Apply for COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate
- Obtain and retain a COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate
- Resume passenger operations with restrictions, such as voyage length and testing requirements
You can read the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Cruise Ships here.