US cruises can sail again starting in November, but under new CDC coronavirus rules
Cruise ships will be able to sail in U.S. waters starting Sunday, provided they follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new coronavirus protocols.
The CDC announced on Friday that its No-Sail regulation will not be renewed and will expire on October 31st - nearly eight months after it was first issued on March 14th.
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The CDC has also issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Regulations” that introduces a “step-by-step approach” for cruise ships of 250 or more passengers to resume operations while maintaining high standards of health and safety.
The Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship "Norwegian Dawn" leaves the Royal Naval Dockyard on July 16, 2013 near the port of Hamilton, Bermuda. REUTERS / Gary Cameron
"This framework offers a way to resume safe and responsible sailing," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a press release. "It will reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships and prevent passengers and crew from triggering outbreaks in ports and in the communities where they live."
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The update is a leap forward for cruise loyalists and the cruise lines that have been financially ruined since the March pandemic. However, some of the larger cruise lines may not take advantage of the lifting of restrictions - at least for the rest of 2020.
Of the major US cruise lines, Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian (NCLH) suspended the majority of their cruises for the remainder of the year. Sailing in 2020 is possible on Carnival (CCL) and Holland American with destinations to Antarctica, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, New Zealand and South America.
A passenger observes the harbor aboard the Eurodam cruise ship in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 21, 2009. CRUISES / REUTERS / Carlos Barria
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During the rollout to full operation, the cruise lines will be subject to strict rules of “testing, quarantine and isolation and social distancing” for crews before passengers return to the ships.
In the following phases, voluntary participation in bogus trips is carried out to test the skills of the pressure test team in reducing the risk of COVID-19.
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"CDC and the cruise industry share a common goal of protecting crew, passengers and communities," said Redfield. "They will continue to work together to ensure that all required public health procedures are in place before cruise ships sail with passengers."
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Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.
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