In the United States, flights are filling up, hotels are getting booked, vacation rentals are selling out, andcompanies face a shortage because of spiking demand. But one sector remains stalled: the cruise industry. Cruise ships sailing out of ports have been docked for more than a year following a series of coronavirus outbreaks on board vessels at the pandemic’s start. Now, cruise companies can restart operations only by following rules laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October.
Earlier this, the C.D.C. published technical guidelines to help cruise companies prepare their ships to start sailing again in , which were set out in the agency’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. But the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s , called the instructions “so burdensome and ambiguous that no clear path forward or timetable can be discerned.”
Cruise companies have asked the agency to revise its guidelines to factor in the speedyand allow U.S. sailings to restart in July. But the C.D.C. has not yet provided a firm date. Under the current rules, cruise ships must follow a months-long process that includes simulation voyages to , followed by a review period.
“The cruise industry as a whole is very frustrated,” said Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry analyst and chief executive of the news site cruiseguy.com. “Travel is resuming at a very high level. Airplanes and hotels are packed, and no industry is better suited to restart than cruising. The lines are prepared, safety protocols are in place, and now, with the high level of vaccine distribution, they feel to resume operations.”
In response to the C.D.C.’s delay of U.S. sailings, some cruise lines are moving their ships abroad to might also look outside the United States if the C.D.C. continues to prevent cruises from sailing domestically. Many of the voyages require adult passengers and crew members to be vaccinated.cruises from foreign ports, including the Caribbean and Europe, where they can sail. The world’s largest cruise company, Carnival, has warned that it
CLIA paints the C.D.C. as targeting the industry unfairly and points to the global economic impact of the initial suspension of cruise operations from mid-March to September of, the latest period for which it has statistics. The there was a loss of $50 billion in economic activity, 334,000 jobs, and $15 billion in wages. But health experts note the number and severity of outbreaks on ships when, for example.
Over 700with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, and 14 people died. “The C.D.C. wants to prevent people from getting sick, and the cruise lines want to go back to business and start making money,” said Tara Kirk Sell, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Security. “So there’s going to be a central disconnect and tension there as we sort ohrough this , which isn’t over yet, and we are still trying to figure out.”