Credit: Shutterstock

USA cruise rules extended by CDC until 2022 as 'the pandemic isn't over'

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Cruise holidays in the USA have been hit with another blow after the CDC extended cruise line health rules until early 2022. What does it mean for British cruisers?

Cruise ship rules for ships operating in the USA have been tightened as the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its health rules would be extended until mid-January.

This means cruise lines will be required to follow CDC's protocol on ships.

These include such rules as: "Face masks to be worn by all travellers while on public transportation including all passengers on board and all personnel operating maritime conveyances travelling into, within, or out of the United States".

Until now these regulations - called a conditional sailing order (CSO) and first imposed in March 2020 - were due to expire on November 1, 2021.

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The move, revealed yesterday, comes amid ongoing concerns about coronavirus pandemic and four months after cruising resumed in the US.

Captain Aimee Treffiletti, who leads the CDC's maritime unit, told USA TODAY: "The pandemic isn't over. We've seen what the delta variant can do."

The CSO will be in effect until the health crisis is declared over, the CDC rescinds or modifies the order or until January 15, 2022.

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The CDC detailed: "After the expiration of the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise ship industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships."

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today commented on the update and remained positive.

US cruises: The CDC announced its health rules would be extended until mid-January. Credit: Shutterstock

"Cruising has successfully resumed in the United States, with leading public health measures that have enabled our ocean-going cruise line members to effectively mitigate the risk of COVID-19 amongst cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations," said CLIA in a statement.

"The changes to the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO)... show that the Biden Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations.

"We look forward to demonstrating the industry’s continued leadership in this final phase of the CSO, and to carrying out a smooth transition when the Order comes to an end on 15 January 2022."

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CLIA went on to emphasise how safe cruising holidays are at the moment.

"Cruise industry protocols are unique in their approach to monitor, detect, and respond to potential cases of COVID-19," said the association.

"As a result, CLIA-member ocean-going cruise ships are sailing today with some of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation of any industry."

CLIA emphasised how safe cruising holidays are at the moment due to the health and safety measures in place. Credit: Shutterstock

CLIA continued: "The health and safety of cruise passengers, crewmembers and destinations remain the industry’s highest priority.

"CLIA ocean-going cruise line members will continue to be guided by science and the principle of putting people first as we work with the Administration and the CDC to expand on our progress and build additional confidence in cruising as one of the safest vacation options, during the pandemic and beyond."

- READ MORE: USA opens up travel to vaccinated holidaymakers -

Next month the USA will open back up to British holidaymakers. Jet-setters will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding an America-bound plane.

A Covid test will also be needed within three days of departure but no quarantine will be needed.

Holidays: Next month the USA will open back up to British holidaymakers. Credit: Shutterstock

Most cruise lines have already cemented their programme for the coming year so many have not adapted cruises to match the relaxation of US rules.

Fred. Olsen Managing Director, Peter Deer, told World of Cruising earlier this month: “Earlier this summer, we became the first cruise line to sail internationally.

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"As we prepared for that milestone moment, we promised our guests we would only sail to countries on the green and amber lists, so operationally the restructured traffic light system won’t change the places that we cruise to."

According to CLIA, the cruise industry prompted "approximately 2.5 million international visitors to travel to the United States to embark on a cruise in 2019, representing nearly 18 percent of all U.S. cruise embarkations," so it's clear many Britons will be keen to resume US holidays as soon as they can.

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