Cruise Sailings from U.S. Ports Slated to Begin Mid-July
14th May 2021
For over a year now, the Travel Industry has been occupied by numerous cancellations, rebooking’s and educating customers on the current global travel restrictions, all while preparing for the industry to bounce back in a big way.
Amidst the chaos, Global Marine Travel (GMT) has maintained momentum and has proven to be a company to lean on 24/7; consistently caring, collaborating and committing to deliver to both our customers and our partners. Our expert team of Travel Agents are being kept up-to-date on all of the latest airline rules & regulations, border restrictions, visa requirements, and we have continued to maintain GMT’s specially negotiated airfares with all major carriers.
Eager to get their ships moving again, Cruise lines have been pushing legislation hard for answers, reporting that they need 60 days or more to get idled ships ready, including bringing a full crew onboard, cleaning, and making sure that systems are functioning.
At this time, GMT is thrilled to share that in a recent letter to industry leaders, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said cruises could resume sailing from U.S. ports in mid-July.
Based on industry feedback, the timeline for re-sailing is dependent on the cruise operators’ pace and compliance with the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters, updated on 5th May 2021. The CDC landed on five clarifications to its additional guidance issued April 2 to allow a resumption of sailing:
- Ships can bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
- CDC will review and respond to applications from cruise lines for simulated voyages within five days, a review previously expected to take 60 days.
- CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people. So, for example, instead of taking a PCR lab test ahead of boarding, vaccinated passengers can take a rapid antigen test upon embarkation.
- CDC has clarified that cruise ship operators may enter into a “multi-port agreement” rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
- The CDC has clarified guidance on quarantine guidelines for passengers who may be exposed to or contract COVID-19. For example, local passengers may be able to drive home and passengers who have traveled by air to cruise may quarantine in a hotel.
These rules are in keeping with decisions already made by many other countries to require proof of vaccination in order for cruise ships to operate again. Faced with this reality, cruise lines have been rolling out new sailings for vaccinated passengers and crew that will depart from ports outside the U.S. starting in June. We’ll soon see similar announcements about sailings departing from U.S. ports, eliminating international flights for many eager cruisers. Although it is important to note that the CDC may adjust these requirements and recommendations based on public health considerations and other factors at any time.
Did you know that Cruise and Tour Operators have the ability to add airfare to their customer’s cruise packages? GMT offers larger Cruise Consortia an outlet to increase revenue through CruiseLink – our web-based search engine that allows cruise-only travel agencies to shop and confirm published consolidator, and air/sea air schedules for their clients. The platform is easy to use and registration is free. Once registered you will gain immediate access to our excellent airfares with the ability to control your commissions. As with all flight reservations booked through GMT, our staff is available 24/7/365 for our customers should emergencies arise while they are traveling.
With cruising on the horizon, the bottom line comes down to safety. The CDC still lists cruising as a very risky activity amid the ongoing pandemic and did not commit to a specific date for the resumption of U.S. cruises. In that regard, the waters for exactly when and how cruising in the U.S. will restart this summer are still somewhat murky, however, the industry and GMT will be ready when the time comes to set sail once again.Back to News