• Tom Drake

CDC guidelines remain confusing for a restart

CDC says there could be a summer restart but falls short of giving date.

Speaking with Royal Caribbean travel advisors yesterday, Kelly Craighead, current President of the Cruise Line Industry Association said that "Some of the information coming out of CDC is a little confusing, we certainly thought some information that came out yesterday that suggested they thought we were on track for a summer restart, it doesn't track with the information they put out Friday."

Craighead was referring to this statement from the CDC, "CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the [CSO]," the agency said in a statement. "This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers; hopefully, by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings."

The confusion here is that the CDC has not defined what is a restricted sailing or given an actual date to restart. Under CDC guidelines, it could take up to 90 days to get approval, and the cruise lines want a restart in July. Craighead said a July restart would be a challenge but doable if the industry get the word by May 1.

Industry executives were not excited by the latest CDC guidelines. Carnival Corporation Chairman Arnold Donald said "he was disappointed". NCLH head Frank Del Rio issued a challenge, "I challenge you to tell me of another venue anywhere that has this kind of iron-clad health and safety protocols in place … cruise ships will de facto become the safest place on earth."

If the current situation with the cruise industry is an example of how the CDC operates, it brings much of what they say into question.

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