The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention on Friday issued new guidance to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, a necessary step before passenger voyages can resume.
The new technical instructions, the first update since October, include increasing from weekly to daily reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses and implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status, and establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.
“COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations,” the CDC said.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising when it is safe to do so, following the phased approach outlined” in October’s conditional sail order,” the agency said.
It did not specify a date for the resumption of cruise operations from U.S. ports despite calls from the industry for planning for a phased resumption by the beginning of July. The CDC said it will issue additional guidance before it will allow cruises to resume.
The group had said the prior conditional sail order issued in October was “outdated” and “does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and successfully operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently. Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors”.