No ‘Cruising’ Until November in the USA

Cruise ship voyages in US waters banned until November
royal caribbean ship at port
World Wide (Vax Before Travel)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an extension of a ‘No Sail Order’ for cruise ships operating in US waters through October 31, 2020.

This Order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

This Order will remain in effect until the earliest of:

  1. The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency
  2. The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations
  3. October 31, 2020

Previously, the CDC reissued a Level 3 Travel Alert on August 28, 2020, which stated: ‘Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.’

The aggregated surveillance data reported to the CDC from March through September 29, 2020, shows at least 3,689 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships in USA waters, in addition to at least 41 reported fatalities.

The challenges described in the No Sail Order highlight the need for further action before cruise ships can safely resume passenger operations in the USA, says the CDC.

To address these CDC concerns, cruise ship companies such as Royal Caribbean Group, announced a list of 'Healthy Sail' health and safety protocols on September 21, 2020. The Healthy Sail Panel’s 65-plus-page report includes 74 detailed best practices to protect the public health and safety of guests, crew, and the communities where cruise ships call.

As an example, these companies say they will implement COVID-19 tests for passengers between 24-hours and 5-days before boarding a ship. 

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. FDA stated in a press release: “The Healthy Sail Panel spent the last 4-months studying how to better protect the health and safety of guests and crew aboard cruise ships. Taken as a comprehensive approach, we believe the Panel’s robust public health recommendations will help inform strategies for a safe resumption of sailing.”

The CDC stated it 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

The No Sail Order can be viewed here.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes CDC Travel Alert news.