Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines to the cruise industry last Friday, which include the need for Covid-19 vaccination, which is a necessary step to resume passenger voyages.
The new technical note is the first update since October and includes increasing the frequency of weekly reporting of Covid-19 cases and diseases to the frequency of daily reporting, and routinely for all crew members based on the ship’s Covid-19 status Test and develop a vaccination plan and schedule for crew and port personnel.
The CDC said: “Covid-19 vaccination is essential to the safe restoration of passenger operations.”
The CDC said that the next stage of CDC’s conditional sailing order will include simulated sailing to allow crew and port personnel to practice the new Covid-19 operating procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.
The agency said: “The CDC is committed to working with cruise ship industry and seaport partners to resume cruises under safe conditions after the phased implementation method outlined in the October Conditional Navigation Order.”
Although the industry has called for plans to resume cruise shipments in phases by early July, it did not specify a date to resume cruise voyages from US ports. The CDC said it will issue more guidance before allowing cruises to resume.
The Cruise International Association, which represents organizations such as Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises, pleaded with the CDC to issue new guidance, and stated in a statement on March 24: “The CDC has not taken any action. Virtually all voyages are banned. The world’s largest cruise market.” It did not immediately comment on Friday.
The organization stated that the previous conditional navigation order issued in October was “outdated” and “does not reflect the industry’s proven progress and success in other parts of the world, nor does it reflect the emergence of vaccines, and is unfair. Treat cruise ships in the same way. Cruise ships should be treated in the same way as other travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment departments.”