The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has elected not to extend its Conditional Sailing Order, which expired on Saturday (January 15). Cruise lines can therefore now treat the organisation’s guidance on COVID-19 measures on board ships as recommendations.
“Cruise ships operating in US waters choosing to participate in the programme on a voluntary basis agree to follow all recommendations and guidance issued by CDC as part of this programme,” the CDC continued.
The Cruise Lines International Association said the CDC reverting to a voluntary risk mitigation programme recognised that the cruise industry had “upheld an unwavering commitment” to taking preventative measures against the spread of COVID-19 on ships.
“Cruise is the only segment of travel and tourism that requires, prior to embarkation for both passengers and crew, exceedingly high levels of vaccination (approaching 100% compared with only 63% of the US population) and 100% testing of every individual (21 times the rate of the US on land),” the CLIA stated.
Cruising vessels that elect not to continue following the recommendations set out by the CDC will be classified as ‘grey’ on the agency’s Cruise Ship Colour status list. This indicates that the CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the particular ship’s health and safety protocols.
‘Red’ vessels have reported cases of COVID-19 at or above the threshold for CDC investigation, ‘yellow’ meet the threshold, ‘orange’ are below the threshold, and ‘green’ ships have no reported cases of COVID-19.