CruiseCheers abound in the US cruise industry as the CDC calls an end to its Covid-19 programme.

It's the end to CDC’s Covid-19 cruise protocols

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Carnival Corporation’s outgoing CEO Arnold Donald calls the move an important milestone in the cruise industry.
Carnival Corporation’s outgoing CEO Arnold Donald calls the move an important milestone in the cruise industry. Photo Credit: Carnival Corporation

“As of July 18, 2022, CDC’s Covid-19 Programme for Cruise Ships is no longer in effect and this page will no longer be updated,” an information banner on CDC’s website states.

This has been met with much excitement among the cruise industry in the US, which has long been plagued by CDC’s stringent Covid-19 protocols, which includes a colour-coding system determining the “safety” of each cruise line depending on their hygiene standards.

The decision to scrap its Covid programme comes after months of the CDC easing up on regulations as the severity of Covid-19 has eased.

However, CDC also stated that “new guidance for cruise ships to mitigate and manage Covid-19 transmission will be available in the coming days”.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has applauded its CDC’s decision to remove the programme, and looks forward to reviewing the details of guidelines the CDC will post online in the coming days.

"This is an important step forward in the CDC aligning the guidelines for cruise with those it has established for other travel, hospitality and entertainment sectors," CLIA stated. "The sunsetting of the CDC programme is a testament to the effectiveness of the industry's comprehensive and robust protocols."

Arnold Donald, outgoing CEO of Carnival Corporation, is similarly heartened to learn about the end of CDC’s cruise programme, calling it an important milestone that will bring about a return to normalcy for cruising once again, as other forms of travel are now experiencing.

The change in protocols may not be reflected as immediately as it did for air travel or other forms of travel though. Donald pointed out that this is because most cruises are booked further in advance, and the industry will only see the impact of these positive changes in future bookings.

In addition, ship protocols are not likely to change immediately, Donald said, as cruise destinations outside the US, such as Asia, may still retain several Covid-19 restrictions which cruise lines will have to abide by.

"You'll start to see us move into what society is doing at large," he said. "We will always have to be in compliance with the destinations. Keep in mind the world is one world but not one place. And every destination has its own thing. So if we're going to someplace we're going to honour whatever that destination's rules are.

“And there may be places around the world that still require certain things, certain testing, certain vaccinations, so if we choose to go to those places, then we're going to respect that, and guests will be informed ahead of time and know what they have to do. But that's what travel in general is, and people are used to that.”

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