CLIA Urges CDC to Allow Sailings from US Ports by July

CLIA says cruise lines are ready to sail again in the United States. - Photo by Cruise Lines International Association

Today, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) announced it has called on the CDC to lift the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order and allow for plans to begin to be made for a phased resumption of cruise operations from United States ports by the beginning of July. The CDC last gave guidance on the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) on October 31, 2020. According to CLIA, this early July time frame matches President Biden’s forecast for when the US will be ‘closer to normal’. 

“Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific—with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer,” said Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s President and CEO.

“The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel,” Craighead added. “The accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.”

“The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the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,” Craighead emphasized.

CLIA has added that restarting cruise operations as a part of the larger travel industry will provide a boost to the U.S. economy. The cruise industry supporting nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributing over $55.5 billion annually, prior to the pandemic.

In its statement CLIA has said it does not currently have a policy related to vaccines, however it noted that some cruise lines have independently announced sailings catering to those who have received the vaccine. CLIA and its members are currently exploring how to consider vaccines as a part of robust protocols once widely available. 

Over the past week cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, have announced Summer 2021 Caribbean sailings out of Caribbean ports including Nassau, Bermuda, and St. Maarten

This is a breaking news story. We will continue to update as additional information is available.

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