May 6, 2021 -- Guidelines for cruise ship lines to conduct simulated voyages as a step toward resuming sailing in American waters were issued Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidelines outline all the requirements and recommendations for cruise ship operators to begin simulated voyages with volunteer passengers before they can restart restricted passenger services, the CDC said.
The document outlines how CDC inspections of cruise ships will be conducted during simulated and restricted passenger voyages, and includes requirements and recommendations on COVID-19 prevention and surveillance on ships.
"CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the [guidelines]," the agency said in a statement. "This goal aligns with the prospective resumption of passenger operations in the United States by mid-summer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers."
"COVID-19 vaccines play a critical role in the safe resumption of passenger operations, but not all cruise ship operators have announced plans to mandate passenger vaccinations," the agency added. "As more people are fully vaccinated and more drug therapeutics are available, the phased approach allowed CDC to incorporate these advancements into planning for safe resumption of cruise ship travel. CDC recommends that all port personnel and travelers [passengers and crew] get a COVID-19 vaccine when a vaccine is available to them."
Cruise ship sailings in U.S. waters were halted last year by the CDC in response to the coronavirus pandemic.