The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a warning to cruise ships about the spread of Legionnaires’ disease (LD). The disease, also called Legionellosis, is caused by a type of bacteria that thrives in warm water and can infect both humans and animals. The bacteria are found naturally in the environment, and are found in water sources such as hot springs, waterfalls, fountains, and swimming pools. They can also grow in large plumbing system pipes, such as those used by cruise ships. (A brief history of Legionnaires’ disease: The Legionnaires’ disease was first identified in 1976, after an outbreak of pneumonia at a convention of the American Legion, in Philadelphia. The disease was named after
In a letter to the National Cruise Association released today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced it will begin screening all cruise passengers for active infection with the Zika virus before they embark on cruises out of the United States. The CDC began providing guidance to cruise lines in the U.S. following an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in Puerto Rico, and since the CDC letter was released, all major cruise lines in the U.S. have announced they will begin screening passengers for the Zika virus before embarking.
Yesterday’s letter from the CDC comes at a good time for the cruise industry. Cruise lines have had little time lately to host a mid-July re-launch as they have moved ships to other parts of the world.
During yesterday’s earnings conference, Michael Bailey, chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean, said the CDC-induced changes make an adjustment to the mid-July launch schedule not only possible, but likely. This also means that cruise lines have two options for sailing out from July. With a mandate for 95% of guests vaccinated and without.
As we wrote yesterday, the CDC highlighted five key points discussed during recent bi-weekly meetings with the various cruise lines. Significant progress has been made in the so-called constructive negotiations between the CDC and the cruise line’s management.
Although much of the CDC’s four-page letter concerns changing the language of the Phase 2A agreement to the conditional swimming regulation, the five main points are:
- Vessels may proceed to flights with paying passengers after the required simulated test flights with volunteers when 98% of the crew and 95% of the passengers have been fully vaccinated.
Many cruise lines are advocating this factor as vaccination becomes more common. However, this does not mean that guests who are not vaccinated will be excluded from the cruise. Michael Bailey, chairman of Royal Caribbean, explained yesterday:
There will be two options. A pathway for vaccinated crew members and predominantly vaccinated guests who meet the threshold established by the CDC. And this means that it will not be necessary to simulate the journey. And vessels that do not meet that threshold, for whatever reason, are subject to different timetables and different protocols and regulations. So there are basically two options.
In addition, a limit of 95%/5% is set for guests who must be vaccinated on board, for those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical complications and for children under the age of 18 for whom the vaccine is not yet authorised. However, it is expected that children and adults will still need a negative PCR test to be allowed on board.
- The CDC will review and respond to requests from cruise lines for simulated travel within five days. Previously, there was a 60-day processing period.
Even if the cruise lines decide not to make the vaccination mandatory, the delay will be much shorter than in the previous case. This means that cruise lines that choose this route will be able to set sail in mid-July if they comply with the other rules imposed by the agency.
Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, which recently canceled all flights from the United States until fall in some cases, said he was optimistic about the letter from the Center for Disease Control and did not respond until Thursday night:
We hope the latest CDC letter is a harbinger of more good things to come.
- The CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew.
On flights with paying passengers and in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated persons, fully vaccinated persons on first passenger flights out of the United States can now undergo a rapid test upon boarding instead of a polymerase chain reaction test, the CDC said.
- The CCD has clarified that cruise lines can enter into a multi-port agreement instead of a single-port agreement, provided that all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
This was important because it would have meant that the cruise lines would have had to make medical and quarantine arrangements with every port the ships called at, including foreign ports. However, the current amendments give cruise lines more flexibility in this area; if a port does not have the medical capacity to treat cases or epidemics on board, but a neighbouring port does, an agreement with that port will suffice.
- The CDC has clarified quarantine guidelines for passengers who may have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. For example. B. Domestic passengers will travel home by car, while passengers arriving by air for a cruise may spend the quarantine period in a hotel.
This paragraph shall be included in the letter in case a COVID incident occurs on board the vessel. This now means that people who may have been in contact with or near an infected person should not be quarantined on board the ship. Many remember last March as the worst election ever. In this case, it’s in everyone’s best interest.
Photo credits: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
As we read the CDC letter, the general opinion becomes more positive. This gives the cruise lines a direct route for customers who are vaccinated, but also gives customers who are not vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated the chance to take a cruise this summer.
Also read : World’s second-largest cruise port responds to CDC adjustments
While most cruise lines have a clear commitment to sailing only with vaccinated guests, a cruise line like Carnival Cruise Line will now seriously consider a second path. The shipping company has so far maintained that guests do not need to be vaccinated. The letter now gives the shipping companies a clear path to continue cruising, perhaps taking with them the lessons learned in Europe from Costa and AIDA.
It is not yet known how this will affect Royal Caribbean and Norwegian’s planned cruises in other parts of the world, but things should stay as they are for now.
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