Cruise ships still haven’t been able to set sail in the U.S. after closing over one year ago due to the ongoing health crisis.
The CDC guidelines have been restrictive and not allowed for any cruises to take place, but that may be changing soon. A letter was issued last week to cruise companies outlining a potential timeline for their return to sailing this summer and now they’ve released more guidelines to help cruise ships return.
According to USA Today, the CDC has released new instructions for the simulated test voyages that are required before cruise companies can resume regular departures. This means that they can now begin planning for their initial test sailings.
Last week, the letter issued by the CDC changed the requirements to enable cruises to bypass the test voyage with volunteers and sail with paying customers so long as 98% of the crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated. But, if cruise companies choose not to do this, the test cruise must sail with at least 10% capacity over two to seven days.
The CDC has also shared new guidelines for passengers that are allowed on these test voyages mandating that they be 18 or older, have written documentation that they are not at high risk of contracting COVID-19, and that they agree to get a COVID-19 test within five days of disembarkment.
This is the final piece needed for cruise lines to begin planning for their initial test sailings. And, if cruise lines are able to abide by the new guidelines and provide all necessary documentation to the CDC, cruises could return as soon as mid-July.
No announcements have been made on when the test sailings will begin, but we will continue to keep an eye out for updates. And, as always, stay tuned to AllEars for the latest.
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Are you planning a cruise in the next year? Let us know in the comments!