The US-based Norwegian Cruise Line has become the first major American cruise line to prepare for sailing.
The company issued a proposal to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) in hopes of being granted a resumption of sailing agreement.
“Vaccinations are the primary vehicle for Americans to get back to their everyday lives,” said Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio.”We believe that through a combination of 100% mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew and science-backed public health measures … we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment.”
Cruise ships were highly impacted by the COVID pandemic and not able to sail for a year leaving Norwegian (), Carnival ( ) and Royal Caribbean ( ) losing $6.8 billion dollars between them.
This tremendous loss has many of the industry’s major cruise lines willing to take the risk and hit the seas in hopes of turning a profit during the summer months.
But the CDC is not so sure that its safe sails ahead. The organization responded to the request by Norweigian by putting out its regulations for cruising going forward.
“Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the next phase of technical guidance under the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) requiring cruise lines to establish agreements at ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of crew, and develop plans incorporating vaccination strategies to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of COVID-19 by crew and passengers,” the statement read.
This phase, the second of the CSO provides technical instructions on:
- 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.
Of course, the CDC’S response was not received well prompting a response from The Cruise Line International Association, who said they found the statement to be “disappointing,” “unduly burdensome” and “largely unworkable.”
Despite the back and forth Norwegian says they will be welcoming passengers and crew who are vaccinated as early as July 4, 2021.
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