Is the CDC’s technical advice the one we’ve all been waiting for and the way to get the cruise lines back on track? Or is it just another empty shell? So far, the guidelines seem to be no more than additional requirements and some clarifications of existing requirements.

The CDC has not given specific dates for the resumption of cruises, nor has it given the green light to begin testing. Captain John Murray, general manager of Port Canaveral, calls the CDC’s guidelines disappointing.

Additional requirements only – no clear objectives

The CDC seems to have made life a little more difficult for cruise lines. Not only has the conditional sailing ban not been lifted, but what many have been calling for in recent weeks, including Richard D. Fain, Florida Governor DeSantis of Royal Caribbean.

Many will question whether this is really the second stage of the conditional release order, as the instructions provided do not appear to be of the calibre of those requiring five months’ preparation.

Captain Murray’s question from Port Canaveral is also interesting:

We have worked closely with our cruise partners and directly with the CDC over the past year to find a way to bring cruise ships back from Port Canaveral. Just today, the CDC announced that vaccinated Americans can safely travel the world. We are disappointed that this guide for the cruise industry appears to be nothing more than another step in the larger process of resuming passenger service in the United States, with no definite or intended start date.

What do the new recommendations actually say?

As it stands, the new CDC guidelines do not accelerate the return in the short term. The cruise lines have not indicated when they will begin the test sailings; there is no indication of when they will resume.

While we knew phase two was going to be yet another technical guide from the CDC, what they just released seems to disappoint everyone in the cruise industry.

CDC Website

Test sail

The CDC stated that the requirements and the ability to test the floats will not be available until the next phase, which will be the third phase:

The next phase of the CSO will include simulations (tests) to allow crew and port staff to practice the new COWID-19 operating procedures with volunteers before going to sea with passengers.

Vaccinations

The CDC is now recommending that the public, dockworkers and crew members on board be vaccinated and plans to take this into account when resuming shipments:

COVID-19 vaccination efforts are critical to the safe resumption of passenger service. As more people are fully vaccinated, a phased approach allows the CDC to incorporate this progress into planning for the resumption of cruises when it is safe to do so. CDC recommends that all eligible port workers and travelers (passengers and crew) receive the KOVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them.

We can rule out the CDC’s advocacy of cruise lines requiring 100% vaccination for all passengers and crew.

Cruise lines must also implement a vaccination program for crew members and port personnel, making vaccination mandatory for anyone working on or with the ships. The CDC does not say guests should be vaccinated, it only recommends it.

Also read : Which cruise lines require the COVID vaccine?

Port and medical agreements

The new guidelines emphasise the need for agreements between ports, ships and health facilities in the event of an epidemic.

The good news is that most, if not all, of these measures are already being implemented by cruise lines as part of their spat prevention plans. There are a few key points to remember that are essential to consider:

Ensure that passengers disembarking from the same ship or from different ships do not stay in the same enclosed or semi-enclosed areas (e.g. gangways, terminal waiting areas, check-in areas) for the same 12-hour period.

This means that ships for this purpose have to land late, or that arrival and departure have to take place in different parts of the port, using different gangways and different waiting areas in the terminal.

This may mean that ships have to embark and disembark on different days in order to comply with the 12-hour period.

These arrangements should include clear protocols to minimize medical evacuations at sea for COPID-19 and non-COPID-19 reasons, plans for all COPID-19-related cases on board, all possible or confirmed infections, quarantine and confirmed medical facilities on board and ashore, and an evacuation plan that does not rely on external assistance.

Frustration instruction

Overall, the guidelines are disappointing, creating even more rules and protocols for cruise lines and not setting a clear path for cruise recovery in the near future.

It’s worth a read: Could Carnival Cruise Line’s plan backfire?

Let’s not forget that most cruisers have sailed in other parts of the world several times. The CDC’s current rules give the impression that the agency is reinventing the wheel.

The cruise lines will seek clarification from the CDC in the coming days. Once more information is available and the CDC can clarify the above, we will see where we really stand after today.

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