Some cruise industry officials are upset with new CDC guidance

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Image: MSC Cruises.
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Several industry trade groups and companies are concerned that the CDC’s delayed cruise restart guidance is to little.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

ATLANTA — The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the next phase in the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), or colloquially known as the ‘no-sail order,’ that directly applies to the reopening of cruise operations.

However, several organizations in the domestic and international cruise industries are concerned that the CDC’s amendment to the no-sail order is too little, too late. Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer Capt. John Murray says that he’s “disappointed” in the CDC.

“Just today, CDC announced vaccinated Americans could safely travel internationally,” said Murray in a statement to the news media. “We’re disappointed that this guidance for the cruise industry appears to be nothing more than an incremental step in a far-reaching process to resume passenger sailings in the U.S. with no definitive or target start date.”

Port Canaveral in Florida has been central in the national debate regarding the restart of operations in the cruise industry.

With Port Canaveral as a backdrop, Murray has featured other industry leaders and politicians who have lobbied the CDC to lift the no-sail order or the CSO. This includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company announced that they submitted a reopening plan to the CDC, despite opposition from port authorities and other industry groups.

“We congratulate the CDC on the steps it has taken to further open travel for vaccinated Americans,” said Frank Del Rio, the president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in a press statement.

”We believe that through a combination of 100% mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew and science-backed public health measures as developed by the Healthy Sail Panel, led by former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb, we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment for guests and crew. We look forward to joining the rest of the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors in participating in this next phase of our recovery,” Del Rio said.

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