U.S. Cruise Lines Vow to Test Passengers Before Boarding
The major cruise lines have announced that they will test all passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to boarding as part of their plan to resume sailing in the Americas.
Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group that represents 95% of global ocean-going cruise capacity, said on Monday that its members will also require passengers and crew to wear masks on board when physical distancing is not possible.
Unfortunately, no date has been set for cruises to resume in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a no-sail order for U.S. waters through September 30.
The Association's plan to resume sailing will now go to the CDC in hopes that the agency decides to lift the no-sail order. The order has twice been extended since March.
The cruise association has issued a voluntary suspension of cruises through October 31.
Arnold Donald, the president and CEO of Carnival Corp., says that once the CDC lifts its order, it will probably take cruise lines at least a month to ready their ships and train crew before they can sail again.
The safety plan proposed by CLIA requires testing of passengers and crew, but doesn't specify the types of coronavirus tests that companies must use. It also doesn't make clear that test results must be known before the ship sails.
The plan does permit limited shore excursions but requires passengers to wear masks and stay apart from other people during those excursions. If passengers don't comply, they won't be allowed to reboard.
The plan also requires ships to increase the amount of fresh in their ventilation systems and to use advanced filtration methods when feasible.
Cruise companies say that the limited but successful cruising that has resumed in Europe over the last few weeks has convinced them that cruising can be done safely.