CDC Issues ‘Conditional Sailing Order’ and Ends The ‘No Sail Order’ For Cruise Ships

The Disney Dream cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay.

It looks like the CDC has finally ended the no sail order for the cruise industry, however, it has set up a framework with a Conditional Sailing Order using a phased reopening approach for operations in U.S. waters. This new order will go into effect on November 1st and will be for crews only initially. Passenger travel will not happen yet.

Note, this is phased and will not be an overnight reopening. Don’t expect it to all start up immediately.

According to the Disney Cruise Line Blog this is what it states:

This Order shall remain in effect until the earliest of:

  • 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
  • November 1, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announces this framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations. Considering the continued spread of COVID-19 worldwide and increased risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships, a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations. CDC is establishing requirements to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to passengers and crew, prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from cruise ships into U.S. communities, and protect public health and safety. After expiration of CDC’s No Sail Order (NSO) on October 31, 2020, CDC will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters.

The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members. CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew members while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers. Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and U.S. communities. These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate COVID- 19 risk. CDC will issue additional orders as needed that will be published in the Federal Register and technical instructions that will be subsequently posted on CDC’s website.

This Order additionally announces requirements for the initial phases relating to crew testing. CDC considers adequate crew safeguards as demonstrated through laboratory testing for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, an integral part of the initial phases prior to resuming passenger operations.”

The initial phase will just be testing and safety checks to make sure the crew is protected. Then they have to go through simulated voyages and testing and the final phase before passengers will be certification measures.

According to the CDC Director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Martin Cetron, the initial phase will be crew only.

This measure is to “to ensure adequate safety and health protocols through a series of mock voyages with volunteers who will play the role of passengers.”

Real passengers are not yet planned for sailings yet. Martin continued:

Considering the continued spread of covid-19 worldwide and increased risk of covid-19 on cruise ships, a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations,. After expiration of CDC’s No Sail Order (NSO) on October 31, 2020, CDC will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters.”

The expiration date, unless changed or cancelled, for the “Conditional Sailing Order” will be November 1, 2021.

This could take awhile, so please be patient as it’s a way forward but not a quick reopening.

What do you think? Comment and let us know.

Source: Disney Cruise Line Blog, Washington Post

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