CDC Releases Instructions for Trial Voyages in Path to Service Resumption

The U.S. Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the next two phases of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters.

The CDC has published technical instructions for cruise ship operators preparing to conduct simulated voyages in advance of restricted passenger voyages under a COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate.

“CDC expects to quickly approve applications that are both complete and accurate,” the agency said. 

The guidelines are complex, and there is one key workaround: if 98 percent of crew are fully vaccinated and 95 percent of passengers are vaccinated, a cruise operator does not need to conduct simulated sailings. 

The CDC said a cruise line operator should notify them and request approval to conduct a simulated voyage at least 30 calendar days prior to the date on which the cruise ship operator proposes to conduct the simulation but also noted it will respond to submissions within five business days.

With the issuance of these next two phases, cruise ship operators now have all the necessary requirements and recommendations they need to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages and apply for a COVID-19 conditional sailing certificate to begin sailing with restricted passenger voyages, according to a statement from the CDC.

Cruise lines will need to submit information to the CDC such as the dates and location of the voyage, as well as documentation that the cruise line has a written agreement (or a multi-port agreement) with all U.S. port and local health authorities where the cruise ship intends to dock or make port during a simulated voyage. 


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