Cruise Ship Industry Launches ‘Dry-Run’ Voyages
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance for the international cruise industry to return to US waters.
On May 7, 2021, the CDC suggests cruise ships undertake simulated voyages with volunteer passengers as part of its COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate (CSO) application.
The CDC stated it ‘is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the CSO. This goal aligns with the prospective resumption of passenger operations in the USA by mid-summer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers.’
With the issuance of these CDC technical instructions, cruise ship operators now have all the requirements and recommendations they need to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages.
CDC released the CSO in October 2020 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships, from cruise ships into communities, and to protect public health and safety. The Order introduced a phased approach for the resumption of passenger cruises to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 onboard.
In the final phase of the CSO, cruise ship operators with an approved COVID-19 CSO application will be permitted to sail with passengers following the requirements of the CSO.
The CDC says, ‘COVID-19 vaccines play a critical role in the safe resumption of passenger operations, but not all cruise ship operators have announced plans to mandate passenger vaccinations.’
‘As more people are fully vaccinated, and more drug therapeutics are available, the phased approach allowed CDC to incorporate these advancements into planning for safe resumption of cruise ship travel.’
The ‘CDC recommends that all port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when a vaccine is available to them.’
As of May 8, 2021, the CDC has issued emergency authorization for three experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
The CDC acknowledges that it is impossible for cruising to be a zero-risk activity for the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. While cruising will always pose some risk of virus transmission, the CDC is committed to ensuring that cruise ship passenger operations are conducted in a way that protects crew members, passengers, and port personnel.
Furthermore, the CDC will continue to update its guidance and recommendations to specify basic safety standards and public health interventions based on the best scientific evidence available. For more information about COVID-19 and cruise ships, please visit What CDC is Doing for Cruise Travelers and Cruise Ship Guidance.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based travel vaccine news.