CDC Extends Conditional Sailing Order into January 2022

The CSO has been extended into January 2022. - Photo by Canva

Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it will temporarily extend the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) with minor modifications through January 15, 2022. This new order supersedes the current ruling, which was due to expire on November 1, 2021. 

According to the CDC, the modified CSO will remain in effect until one of the following: 

  • The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;
  • The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or
  • January 15, 2022, at 12:01 am EDT.

An Executive Summary summary of this new modification reads as follows, “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is temporarily extending the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) issued on October 30, 2021. Since the issuance of the CSO, cruise lines, with CDC assistance, have resumed passenger operations and successfully developed and implemented health and safety protocols to manage COVID-19 that have averted overwhelming onboard medical facilities and burdening shoreside hospital resources.” 

“However, considering the continued spread of the Delta variant, emergence of other COVID-19 variants of concern, breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated, and possible additional surges of cases and deaths, CDC has determined a temporary extension of the CSO is necessary for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating on international itineraries. After the expiration of this temporary extension, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with interested cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise ship industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 aboard cruise ships,” the CDC’s statement continued.  

The official announcement from the CDC states that as of July 23, 2021, the CSO measures (including technical instructions) are “nonbinding recommendations for cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida. However, CDC continues to operate the CSO as a voluntary program for such ships that choose to follow the CSO measures voluntarily.” 

In May 2021, the CDC modified the Conditional Sailing Order to be a phased approach for the resumption of cruising in U.S. waters. The order offered two options for cruise operators to resume ship operations: first, a vaccination requirement by the cruise line of 95% of passengers and crew on each passenger cruise; second, an option to conduct a simulated sailing with volunteer passengers onboard to test COVID protocols and earn CDC approval, prior to any paying passenger sailings. 

Read the full temporary modification framework guidelines from the CDC here

This is a breaking news story. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Posted by RetiredRay

I like "The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;" . I seriously doubt that this will happen anytime soon. I hear from the folks studying the virus at the University of Utah that more variants are popping up. My nurse friends (both senior nurses in ER at two different hospitals in Ogden) say that they have to cancel surgeries (and yes, they have had at least one death from that) because they have no room, and they get calls from Nevada and Idaho asking for bed space. And the majority of the Covid patients are unvaccinated young adults. I just hope the lines can weather it. I have three (two are essentially B2B) trips scheduled for a total of 37 days cruising in the next 7 months.

Posted by jbLGB

I look forward to the day when the CDC will apply its guidelines uniformly across the travel industry. The cruise lines have taken the brunt of the CDC's seesawing policies for far too long, giving the companies little notice of when and how they are permitted to resume operations. Preparing a ship for sailing is a bit more complicated than taking your car in for a tune-up and then driving away. So now, the CDC in its usual shortsightedness, is giving the cruise lines another two month extension? Since the cruise lines did not receive US government aid, it is miraculous that the cruise industry was not deluged with bankruptcies. Let's call this out for what it is: the CDC has a double-standard for the cruise lines vs hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc. There is no proof of vaccination, nor proof of Covid testing required for the hotels or airlines in the US, yet they handle even more guests than the cruise lines. I guess those industries exist in a disease-free bubble that did not require that the CDC limit their operations.

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