CDC Issues Next Steps For Cruising to Return

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As travelers patiently wait for cruising to return to the U.S., the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidance on sailing.

Here is everything you need to know about the updated cruise guidelines from the CDC.

Related: Disney Cruise Line Plans Big Return in 2022

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Fans are eager to get back to sailing on the Disney Cruise Line, and Disney CEO Bob Chapek has previously said that he is hopeful that DCL will be able to begin sailing once again this fall. While we still do not yet have definitive confirmation from Disney of an official date for when sailing could resume, this new guidance from the CDC could potentially help Disney get closer to announcing a return date for Disney Cruise Line.

Keep in mind that Disney Cruise Line already announced that summer 2021 cruises will take place in the U.K. You can read more about that here.

What is the new cruise guidance from the CDC?

This new guidance builds on the previous Conditional Sailing Order that we have outlined in the past. Cruise lines must meet certain requirements in order to cruise out of the U.S., including doing test cruises with volunteers who are 18+, having COVID-19 centers on board, and of course, implementing enhanced health and safety measures.

“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising when it is safe to do so, following the phased approach outlined in the CSO,” a recent CDC statement read.

Related: What Will Disney Cruise Line Test Cruises Look Like?

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The new Conditional Sailing Order, or as the CDC refers to it, the CSO, does not ask that the cruise lines require Guests to be vaccinated. While the CDC recommends that staff and passengers get the vaccine, it is not a part of the CSO:

COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations. As more people are fully vaccinated, the phased approach allows CDC to incorporate these advancements into planning for resumption of cruise ship travel when it is safe to do so. CDC recommends that all eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them.

The CDC does state that the next phase of getting cruise lines sailing out of the United States is the test cruises. No cruise line has executed a test cruise out of the United States yet, despite this being a part of the CDC’s previous Conditional Sailing Order.

Related: No Disney Cruises to Alaska For 3 Years

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While we cannot confirm this, we assume cruise lines such as Disney are hoping that an overwhelmingly successful vaccine rollout in the U.S will eventually see less and less restrictive guidelines from the CDC — Ultimately spending the money on test cruises with volunteers will not be necessary as those will come with an enormous financial cost to cruise lines who are already struggling financially.

The updated guidance in the CSO also includes:

  • Increasing from weekly to daily the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses.
  • Implementing routine testing of all crew based on each ship’s color status.
  • Updating the color-coding system used to classify ships’ status with respect to COVID-19.
  • Decreasing the time needed for a “red” ship to become “green” from 28 to 14 days based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
  • Creating planning materials for agreements that port authorities and local health authorities must approve to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on their ships to include healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected people and quarantine those who are exposed.
  • Establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.

You can read the technical guidance on how the CDC recommends that cruise lines implement these practices and procedures here.

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It is unclear at this time how the updated CSO will affect Disney Cruise Line. Disney has not yet issued a statement in regard to the new CSO guidance, so we will have to wait and see if this will help DCL return to sailing faster, or, instead, if it will further delay the return of Disney Cruises.

In any case, it is good news that after six months of the Conditional Sailing Orders from the CDC were announced, the guidelines have been updated, and it is clear that work is being done to help cruising return to the U.S.

The CDC shared the following along with the CSO updates:

Cruising safely and responsibly during a global pandemic is difficult. While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the phases of the CSO will ensure cruise ship passenger operations are conducted in a way that protects crew members, passengers, and port personnel, particularly with emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.

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Disney Cruise Line ships are Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Dream. Disney Cruise Line is working on three new ships all larger than their previous ships, the first of these new ships is the Disney Wish which is ready to set sail as soon as 2022.

What do you think about the new updates to the Conditional Sailing Order from the CDC? Let us know in the comments!

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