Framework for Conditional Sailing Order Set to Expire on January 15

The CSO is set to expire on Friday, January 15, 2022. - Photo by Canva

The CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) is set to expire at 12:01 AM on January 15, 2021. This is what we know so far about this expiration date as well as all information provided thus far from the CDC on the organization’s next steps.  


What We Know About the CSO

The CSO was initially instituted in May 2021 to ‘provide guidance for a phased-in resumption of cruise ship passenger operations in the United States’. Since this order was instituted, all cruise lines have worked in conjunction with the CDC to establish extensive health and safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID on cruise ships and bring passenger cruising back in a meaningful way from ports in the United States.

In October 2021, the CDC announced that it would be extending the Conditional Sailing Order with modifications to the January 15, 2022 date. This guidance stated that “after the expiration of the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise ship industry in detecting, mitigating, and controlling the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships.” 

On January 30, 2021, following an uptick in COVID-19 cases reported on cruise ships, the CDC decided to raise its warning for cruise travel to ‘Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19’. 

Will the CDC Extend the Conditional Sailing Order? 

As of January 12, 2022, the CDC has not announced that it will be extending the CSO past the January 15 date. During a Senate hearing on January 14, 2022, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky indicated that the organization would not be choosing to extend the order and expressed that the CSO would transition to a voluntary program. 

“We anticipate that this order will not be renewed and that the cruise ship industries will continue to understand that this is a really safe practice for those industries," said Walensky in the hearing.

“I think the Conditional Sail Order and the fact the industry has stepped up and is now interested in exceeding the compliance with the Sail Order without the order necessarily being in place is a real testimonial to how well that has worked,” she remarked about the protocols instituted by cruise lines.  

How Are Cruise Lines Responding to the Expiration of the CSO? 

Thus far, no cruise line has made any official remarks about the expiration of the Conditional Sailing Order. Current health and safety protocols are expected to remain in place during the transition of the CSO into a voluntary program. 

Over the past few weeks, a number of cruise lines (including Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival) have modified their onboard policies for mask-wearing and social distancing as an uptick of onboard cases are being reported due to the Omicron variant. 

This is a developing news story. will continue to update this article as new information becomes available. 

Want to know what it’s like to cruise right now? Check out our back at sea guides and hear from members who have sailed since cruising has resumed. 

Looking for cruising resources? Explore guides on pre-cruise testing requirements, vaccine protocols, and updates for Early 2022 Cruise Cancellation Modifications.

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