The industry group that speaks for most cruise lines, called the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), is asking the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reopen US cruise ports. The association represents the Disney Cruise Line as well as most other major carriers like Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean.
US Cruise Terminals have been closed for more than a year due to COVID-19.
Back in October 2020, the CDC put in place the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. The order includes requirements that cruise operators need to follow in order to reopen, including rules for quarantine plans and simulated voyages. The order remains in place through November 2021.
Time Are Changing
The cruise line industry argues that things have changed and that the Order should be changed or removed.
Sources report that a representative for the Association said that the Order is outdated and does not reflect how cruise lines have proven successful operations in other regions of the world. The representative stated the Order does not account for progress with vaccines and claims that the Order treats cruises differently than similar industries like tourism, travel, entertainment, and travel.
Skipping The USA
Royal Caribbean is already sailing in China, Singapore, and Israel. It plans to restart additional cruises as well. Instead of sailing from US ports, however, they will instead sail from Bermuda and the Bahamas and include a stop at the company’s private island, Coco Cay. Royal Caribbean requires that all adults and crew have vaccines in order to board a ship.
Crystal Cruises is restarting voyages in July from the Bahamas.
Skipping US Ports
A representative for Port Canaveral, where the Disney Cruise Line has a major presence, noted that the fact that the cruise industry plans to sail out of different countries and skip US ports represents a business threat to US ports and the jobs and taxes they generate.
The representative also stated that it will take time to restart the industry, and that cruise lines can only get one or two ships reoperating each month.
Should cruise lines be allowed to restart operations?