(CMR) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its strictest coronavirus warning urging Americans to avoid all cruisers raising the current warning from Level 3 to Level 4. The $7 billion cruise industry will have to continue waiting before it will resume on the high seas.
The issued update appears to rescind their previous conditional sailing order issued just three weeks ago and now states that “at this time, CDC still recommends avoiding any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.”
The warning comes after a recent COVID-19 outbreak on SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I, the first cruise to resume sailing in the Caribbean since the shutdowns in early March. Despite “stringent” health and safety protocols over 7 cruisers and two crew members tested positive for the virus.
On October 30, the CDC had previously lifted a 7-month ban on cursing in U.S. water. Cruiselines could apply for a Conditional Sailing Certificate. This was an effort to introduce a phased resumption to cruise operations.
Earlier this month, 6 major cruise lines canceled December sailings in the wake of the October CDC order. Some have extended that through to March 2021. It is likely that before resuming full operations the CDC will require “test voyages” and already cruise lines saw tens of thousands of cruise enthusiasts volunteer for the trial cruises.