On November 21st, the CDC announced an advisory warning against cruising. This has raised some concerns about their new Conditional Sailing Order, making some think that it may be revoked in favor of the previous No Sail Order. This comes at a time when some cruise lines are hopeful for 2021 while others are cancelling a large swath of their 2021 itineraries. Let’s take a look at the details of the new CDC warning as well as cancellations from Holland America, Princess, and more.
Level 4 warning
The new warning from the CDC has upped the organization’s warning level from level 3 to level 4. This warning level states that they advise against any and all cruise travel for people in the U.S. due to the recent drastic increase in COVID-19 spread. According to the CDC themselves, they recommend “that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high. It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel.” The CDC offered additional guidance to travelers, advising that anyone who goes on a cruise should quarantine for a week afterwards.
The impact of this warning
It should be noted that this warning is not a rule, so it doesn’t have any actual bearing on the status of the current Conditional Sailing Order. However, the fact that the CDC issued this warning just a short bit after decreasing their No Sail Order seems a bit confusing. While it makes sense given the current status of COVID-19 in the United States, will they be returning to a No Sail Order? It’s not clear. It may be that they still want to allow cruise lines to test out new safety protocol via trial cruises in this period. It could also be that they are just waiting to return to the old order. It’s impossible to tell as of now. We would guess that any trial sailings that occur in the near future will likely just feature crew members and not civilian passengers, however.
This news from the CDC, coupled with some major cancellations throughout the industry, seem to negate the tentative optimism that came as a result of several pieces of recent news. Since November 20th, Princess, Seabourn, Disney, and Holland America have all cancelled some of their 2021 itineraries. Disney will now not be sailing until February 2021, while Princess and Holland America are on pause until April 2021. Seabourn’s cancellations are a bit more complicated and can be read about over here.
It will be interesting to see if the CDC decides to go back on their Conditional Sailing Order in light of this new warning. As always, we’ll keep you updated on their decision.