Last week, the CDC gave the cruise industry some optimism about cruises restarting this summer when they sent a letter to cruise lines with updated guidance.
The letter said that cruises may be able to resume from U.S. cruise ports by the middle of July if certain conditions were met. One reason why cruises have yet to restart is due to the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order (CSO) which many in the industry have called unworkable.
In the new updated guidance, the CDC said that cruise lines can bypass the phase of the CSO that requires cruise lines to sail simulated test cruises.
If 98% of crew members and at least 95% of passengers are vaccinated, cruise lines can bypass test voyages and jump straight to cruises with paying passengers.
However, this poses a possible problem for families wanting to sail with children. Since 95% of passengers (19 out of every 20) would need to be vaccinated, cruise lines would likely have to make it a requirement.
After all, they can’t just have everyone show up at the terminal and then see if 95% of passengers make the cut.
Currently, only those 16 and older can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Cruise lines may have to ban children from sailing at first or they would never reach the 95% goal for sailing. This is especially true for cruise lines that are geared toward families.
We should know in the coming weeks if cruise lines will be able to sail in July from U.S. ports with the new updated guidance from the CDC.
Even though cruises from the U.S. are still on hold, several cruise lines will begin sailing next month and over the summer from ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas bypassing homeports in the U.S. This includes Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
On these cruises, adults are required to be vaccinated but children just have to show a negative test to board the ship.