Optimism for Cruises as the CDC’s COVID 19 Program for Cruise Ships Ends
In a surprising announcement, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that its Covid 19 program for cruise ships is no longer in effect. Based on CDC recommendations, individual cruise lines will determine their own protocols for passengers. This is expected to increase traffic and breathe new life into the industry, which has been struggling to get back on its feet since the beginning of the pandemic, inferred from the jump in share prices of cruise stocks soon after the announcement.
Strict and elaborate protocols were placed on the vessels when sailing of cruises from US ports was resumed in the summer of 2021. At this time CDC warned of a high risk of infection and advised against cruise travel. The system was replaced by a voluntary and more lenient one in 2022, which all the cruise ships sailing from the US opted into. The newest approach is to transfer greater responsibility on the cruises with less oversight by government agencies.
Kristen Nordlund, a CDC spokesperson, has stated that they believe the cruise operators have access to the necessary tools to prevent and mitigate the spread of Covid 19. She also said that passengers are expected to do their own risk assessment as they would in other settings. However, the CDC website advises passengers to avoid cruising and undergo testing three days earlier and five days after a cruise. The CDC will continue to publish guidelines for cruise vessels, and the ships will also be required to abide by local requirements and agreements with ports.