Cruising Is Back: Key Takeaways from New CDC Framework

Independence of the Seas

The CDC’s Framework For Conditional Sailing Order is a 40-page document detailing the phased-in approach and return to service for the cruise industry in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Cruise lines will need to apply for a COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate from the CDC that is based on new health and safety protocols to mitigate the risks of COVID-19. The CDC can approve or deny any permit application, and also revoke it later. 

  • Cruise operators will also need to run a series of simulated voyages prior to re-entering service. Simulated voyages will mimic a normal cruise experience and also include drills for potential outbreaks and positive COVID-19 cases aboard. 

  • Cruise lines will need a host of new procedures, significant testing capability and response plans to deal with any possible scenario. 
  • The CDC will reserve the right to determine passenger and crew capacity, itineraries, ports of call, onboard activities and just about everything else.

  • Cruises from the U.S. can be no longer than seven days. The CDC reserves the right to shorten cruises.

  • Cruise lines must screen passengers and crew before they embark. Crew will be tested on a weekly basis going forward.

  • Ships must conduct “laboratory testing” of all passengers and crew on embarkation and disembarkation in line with CDC guidelines.

  • Ships must maintain standards for hand washing, face covering, social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention matters, per the CDC guidelines.

  • Cruise operators must modify meal and entertainment services to maintain social distancing.

  • In the event of a positive case, cruise lines must disembark and transport guests and crew using non-commercial transportation.




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