PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — The cruise industry may be able to resume voyages in the U.S. starting in July if they meet certain criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The cruise industry has been on hold for the past year due to the CDC’s conditional sailing order.
The CDC wrote suggests that with mitigation measures, cruises that had been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic could resume by mid-summer.
The CDC has announced five key clarifications for its framework for conditional sailing order:
- If a ship has fully vaccinated 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers it can bypass a simulated voyage.
- The CDC has also reduced the time to respond to applications for simulated voyages to 5 days.
- The agency has updated its testing and quarantine requirements.
- Cruise ship operators may enter into multi-port agreements.
- And if necessary, the CDC has provided local passengers the ability to quarantine at home if they are within driving distance.
John Murray, the CEO of Port Canaveral, said is ships are ready to sail from Port Canaveral in mid-July, they will have the staffing ready to serve them.
“I’m optimistic that we may be on a pathway forward at this point and its exciting,” Murray said. “As I’ve already said this is the best news I’ve heard since March 1 last year when they shut everything down.”
Murray said the port had already begun re-hiring some of its staff before the CDC’s announcement on Thursday.
Recently, Florida and Alaska have filed lawsuits against the CDC to lift their conditional sailing order and allow ships to cruise out of U.S. ports.