The cruise industry was among the sectors that still feel the economic and financial impact of the pandemic. However, for people eager to board a cruise ship, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released good news.
CDC has finally given the signal for cruise ships to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic after seven months last Friday. The public health institute said that it would not extend the No Sail Order that expires on October 31.
The No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation was first implemented by the institute last March 14. The Order can be read in the Federal Register. It was a precautionary measure because CDC strongly believes “cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit, or spread COVID-19.” Barred ships are “commercial, non-cargo, passenger-carrying vessels.”
The description encompasses all international, interstate, and intrastate waterways in the United States jurisdiction. Adding to the CDC’s definition, a cruise ship’s capacity should be 250 individuals or more, including the passengers and crew. The Order has been extended thrice: April 9, July 16, and September 30.
The CDC, however, released a framework for the resumption of operations as a replacement of the no sail order. The 40-page framework laid out a comprehensive guide to the “phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations.” It still recognizes the coronavirus pandemic threat and the “increased risk… on cruise ships.”
The first phase of the framework requires cruise liner operators to have sufficient precautions regarding health and safety. The guidelines also direct the operators to have an ample laboratory capacity to test its future passengers. Moreover, the operators need to have a Conditional Sailing Certificate, which proves they’re compliant with CDC standards.
The next phase entails simulated voyages testing an operator’s capacity to reduce the virus spread aboard. CDC also wants to create a guideline and protocol for return passengers to mitigate the risks. The health agency did not indicate how long it would take to finish all the operators’ requirements to resume sailing.
Consequently, shares of cruise liners have increased with the publication of the new framework. Carnival, the world’s most giant cruise liner, had a 7% uptick due to the guidelines, but its broad-market indexes were 3%. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian also climbed up to 6% and 5%, respectively.
Despite the sudden uptick, the cruise industry is still down by 60%, with Carnival leading the losses by 75%. The new guidelines by the CDC gave hope to cruise liner employees. Nonetheless, it is still questionable whether it is safe to board a cruise ship or restore consumer confidence.