Miami, April 30 2021: After taking a sound bashing that resulted in losses of around $48.3 billion, the cruise industry in the US, which is home to some of the world’s largest cruise lines, finally experiences good news as the CDC has issued a green light along with guidelines for the cruises to resume in mid-July.
The south of Florida is where three of the largest cruise lines in the world, the Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are based and the multi-billion dollar industry employs thousands in the US state. The cruise industry that is critical to a state that relies heavily on tourism was virtually shut down last year as the CDC issued no sail orders on 14th March 2020 after a deadly outbreak had already started on a cruise elsewhere in the world. The CDC guidelines state that for the cruises to start officially sailing again, at least 98% crew and at least 95% of passengers will have to be vaccinated against the corona virus.
Cruise lines are to submit their plans for clearance as soon as possible. In anticipation of the ban being lifted, Norwegian had already announced on April 5 its requirement of proof of vaccination. A spokesperson for the company said it is encouraged by ongoing constructive dialogue with the CDC that has resulted in modifications to the issued guidelines regarding vaccinations. While Jonathan Fisherman from Royal Caribbean said the company was encouraged to see a pathway to a healthy achievable return to service and the Carnival said they were reviewing the policy guidelines issued by the CDC.
At the end of last year, some cruises in Europe and elsewhere did get clearance to sail but the ban remains in place in the US, with the original roadmap for operations resumptions coming out in October and a reviewed final version emerged in April. According to Didier Arino, head of the Protourisme consulting firm in Paris, he doesn’t expect the industry as a whole to resume normal activity until 2025.
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