The good news is the CDC has lifted the no sail order. The bad news is, a cruise restart will take time. The cruise lines will have to undertake a series of requirements to certify they can prevent the spread of Covid-19 on their ships. Ships must conduct test sailings prior to their restart and present the CDC with a report showing that those sailings were successful in mitigating the risk of spread to crew, passengers and communities. When a simulated voyage is complete and the results are read, the CDC will determine whether that ship will receive a Conditional Sailing Certificate or if it must modify its practices and perhaps engage in additional simulated voyages.
The cruise lines have to apply for the Conditional Sailing Certificate at least 60 days before a ship plans to launch passenger cruises. This will push any sailing in U.S. waters until early January. Cruise executives are saying it will take up to 60 days to prepare a ship to sail again with the additional protocols.
The cruise lines also have to establish agreements with shoreside healthcare entities in ports they plan to visit in case they have to evacuate any passengers or crew in need of Covid-19 care to a hospital. They also have to repatriate their crew and install technology needed to carry out the recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel. With enhanced measures in place, many cruise lines have resumed sailing in Europe and other parts of the world with success. These include testing for passengers and crew prior to boarding, wearing masks, physical distancing, and highly controlled shore excursions. Read more at Wearing Masks on a Cruise. It’s not too late to start planning your family reunion cruise or large groups cruise for 2021 & 2022. Now is the time to still get lower pricing. As cruise lines resume with a limited passenger it is likely we will see rates go up so they can make up lost revenue.