The CDC is buckling under pressure from CLIA, the cruise lines and local homeport governments to allow cruising to restart. At least two CDC officials have now publicly stated passengers could be boarding cruise ships in U.S. ports as soon as JUL.
Martin Cetron, the CDC’s Director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told the Miami Herald the JUL target is feasible, but conditions apply. It will depend on how many people get vaccinated, how well COVID-19 variants are kept at bay, and how fast cruise companies can secure agreements with local ports and health authorities in the cities they plan to visit, he said.
CDC Spokesperson Jason McDonald had similar comments in an interview with Cruise Week, where he stated the CDC hopes U.S. cruises can resume by midsummer, with restrictions.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the Conditional Sailing Order,” McDonald said.
“This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travellers, hopefully by midsummer with restricted revenue sailings.”
On Tuesday, Open Jaw reported that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings challenged the CDC to open U.S. waters, just as the company announced plans to resume cruising for vaccinated pax on 25JUL. In a letter penned to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Paula Walensky, NCLH urged the health agency to “lift the CSO for all NCLH cruise vessels departing from U.S. ports effective July 4, 2021.”
Several cruise lines which, pre-pandemic, operated tours from U.S. ports and contributed millions to the local economy, have recently announced plans to homeport offshore.
Carnival Corp. became the latest – and final – of the “big three” cruise companies to announce offshore cruising, with luxury line Seabourn’s Tuesday announcement of summer sailings in the Greek Isles.