Cruise industry salty over CDC plan to keep travelers safe from COVID at sea [arstechnica.com]:
The cruise industry is rather salty about the latest federal guidance [cdc.gov] for safe pandemic sailing, calling it "burdensome" and "unworkable. "
The new guidance is an updated phase of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), released April 2 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [cdc.gov]. While it does not mandate vaccinations for all staff and cruisegoers, it does recommend the shots and requires added layers of health measures to try giving any onboard COVID-19 outbreaks the heave-ho—which is exceedingly difficult to do on the tightly packed, highly social vessels.
Among several changes, the guidance requires cruise operators to increase how frequently they report the number of COVID-19 cases onboard, upping reporting from weekly to daily. It also requires cruise lines to implement new routine testing for crew members. Additionally, the guidance requires that cruise lines have agreements set up with port authorities and local health authorities to ensure that, in the event of an outbreak, there will be coordination and infrastructure necessary to safely quarantine, isolate, and treat passengers and crew on land.
Once those requirements are met, cruise operators can run mock cruises with volunteer passengers and, if all goes well, apply for a "Conditional Sailing Certificate."
In a statement released Monday [cruising.org], the prominent industry trade group Cruise Lines International Association released a statement [cruising.org] calling the new guidance "unduly burdensome, largely unworkable."
The CLIA claims the health guidance "deprives US workers from participating in the economic recovery" and provides "no discernable path forward or timeframe for resumption" of cruises originating in the country. The group ended its statement by urging the Biden administration to "consider the ample evidence that supports lifting the CSO this month to allow for the planning of a controlled return to service this summer."