On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control elevated its travel warning for cruise travel to ‘Level 4 Very High’ and suggested that people avoid cruise ships.
(Photo courtesy of CDC)
The change in status comes just weeks after the CDC lifted the no-sail order, replacing it with a new order for passenger ships carrying over 250 guests.
The CDC highlighted:
People should avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.
Cruise passengers are at increased risk to spread the virus from person-to-person
Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel.
On October 30, 2020, the CDC lifted the cruise ship ban and replaced it with a Conditional Sail Order.
The new order consists of a series of benchmarks that each individual U.S. cruise ship has to complete before being allowed to operate revenue cruises.
EXPLAINED: CDCs Conditional Sail Order
One of those benchmarks is operating a series of trial cruises to prove that the new health and safety protocols work.
The pool deck on Explorer of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)
In an odd twist, Royal Caribbean received over 100,000 volunteers to operate test sailings that the CDC put in the conditional sail order.
The CDC said, “For most travelers, cruise ship travel is voluntary and should be rescheduled for a future date.”
There have been arguments that the CDC is treating the cruise lines unfairly, being accused of not enforcing the same rules to other travel methods such as airlines and trains.
(Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Currently, North American lines have canceled sailing through at least December 31, 2020, with some lines like Carnival Cruise Line extending its cancelations through January 2021.
Carnival plans to bring Carnival Breeze and Carnival Horizon online first, while Royal Caribbean crew members tell us that Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas will be the first vessels back for the line.
You can read the entire cruise travel warning here.