“As of July 18, 2022, CDC’s Covid-19 Programme for Cruise Ships is no
longer in effect and this page will no longer be updated,” an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