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: Cruises can begin a gradual reopening – however be prepared for shorter journeys, a number of COVID assessments, and no extra buffets

Public health officials have turned cruise ships off the green
Light to begin a gradual reopening in the US after months without sails
Orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But it could be months before travelers start sailing
back on the high seas from American ports.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was not renewing the full sailless order that the cruise industry had shut down for months. As a result, the no-sailing regulation expired on October 31, and in its place the CDC introduced a conditional sailing regulation, which sets out the requirements cruise ships must meet in order to resume operations.

On Tuesday, the Cruise Line International Association, the cruise industry's premier trade group, announced that its members had decided to voluntarily cease operations in the United States for the remainder of the year. This includes the cruise lines of Carnival Corp. one.
CCL,
-2.69%
Royal Caribbean Group
RCL,
-1.02%
and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
NCLH,
-2.35%.

The cruise industry has drawn special attention –
especially when compared to other sectors of the travel industry – during the
Coronavirus pandemic. When coronavirus cases shot up earlier
This year, cruise ship outbreaks received a lot of media attention. Especially more
more than 700 passengers and crew members tested positive for COVID-19 at the carnival
Diamond Princess, a company in March.

In the meantime, cruise lines have slowly started resuming operations in Europe and Southeast Asia, although some of these ships have experienced small COVID-19 outbreaks despite extensive precautionary measures. In October, a trip on a Costa Cruises trip departing from Genoa, Italy, was canceled after eight people tested positive.

Here's what travelers plan to plan a cruise vacation next
Year need to know about the reopening of the industry:

It could be months before cruises leave the US again

Cruise companies have a lot to do to get the OK from the CDC so they can sail out of US ports again. For starters, they will need to develop their own laboratory testing skills on board their ships so that crew and passengers can be tested for the coronavirus.

After that, they will have to conduct simulated voyages to test their ability to mitigate the virus while on a sail. These simulated trips may be open to the public, although it's not clear what they mean or how long they would take. The CDC only allows participants who are adults with no pre-existing conditions that put them at risk of complications if they contract COVID-19. Once that's done, cruise lines will need to submit reports to the CDC in order to obtain re-sailing certification.

And that's exactly the process the CDC requires – it doesn't take into account how much legwork cruise ships need to get their crews back on board their ships and retrain them, said Stewart Chiron, a travel expert who runs The Cruise Guy website .

Cruise Line employees live all over the world and some
Cruise ships had started taking steps to fly their workers back to the US
Operations resumed before the CDC placed their new order. “Essentially mine
Understanding is that they will quarantine the crews ashore for 14 days and
then 14 days on board the ship, ”said Chiron. "That's a month."

During this time, cruise lines can work on other elements of the business
their COVID-19-related plans, but January and February travelers may be
disappointed.

"The great
The current question is how long it will take before what is necessary is implemented
Protocols to meet CDC requirements, ”said Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor
the Cruise Critic travel website. “Many of these requirements were suggested by
the industry itself, but it is not known exactly how long it will actually take
To run."

The presidential election could also play a role in reopening the industry. Some reports suggest that the Trump administration overruled the CDC in extending the No-Sail ordinance after Oct. 31 – and House Democrats are reportedly investigating the matter. A government in Biden, if the former vice president is elected, could try to slow the industry's reopening depending on its approach to the pandemic, Chiron said.

Carnival Corp. said that every single cruise line will post their reopening plans on their websites. Carnival brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland American and Princess Cruises. "Whenever we resume our cruise operations in the USA, we definitely look forward to welcoming our guests on board," said Arnold Doland, CEO of Carnival, in a statement and announced plans to continue operations until at least 2021 adjust.

(Royal Caribbean and Norwegian did not respond to requests for comment.)

Some trips can be canceled even if a cruise line is back in service

One caveat the CDC maintains is that cruises,
once allowed, it cannot be longer than seven days. And the health department
reserves the right to shorten (or extend) this period in the future.

That short timeframe can't rule out popular itineraries.
like cruises to the Bahamas or the Western Caribbean. But that could mean
Certain trips cannot take place. For example Panama Canal trips
would not be feasible. Likewise, trips from California to Hawaii and Alaska
would likely be off the table because of that time frame, Chiron said.

Multiple COVID-19 tests are required for a cruise vacation

The CDC itself requires that passengers and crew be screened
on the day of embarkation and on the day of return. Passengers will be too
must have been tested and obtained results prior to boarding the ship.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg where testing takes place
concerned. When cruises are ports of call, passengers want to be needed
be tested by these countries before disembarking from the ship. “On a seven day day
Sailing with three port stops, six passengers must be tested
times, ”said Chiron.

Plus, if anyone on board is suspected of having COVID, everyone
close contacts would have to be tested. All in all, Chiron suggested a few
Travelers may find the extensive tests too uncomfortable.

Many of the benefits and amenities of a cruise vacation can be limited

The travel experience may not be as carefree as it used to be
was as long as the pandemic has lasted, experts said. "We can expect to see a lot of what we see on land,"
Gray Faust said. This would likely include capacity limitations and the wearing of masks
other areas. Self-service buffets are likely to fall by the wayside
All-you-can-eat restaurants may stay nearby, but with gloved staff
the food instead.

The
The biggest change, however, could be in relation to the activities taking place
from the ship. “Lines relied on the ability to create their own 'bubble'.
Art with pre-cruise COVID testing as well as shore sponsored by ships
Excursions where guests have to accept protected offers from the cruise line, ”said Gray Faust, describing what
Operators have done in Europe.

So rather
than being able to plan your own activities when visiting a port, travelers
You must book a pre-made excursion from the cruise line
directly.

In fact, cruise lines are likely to be so strict about what passengers can and cannot do in a port of call that rule violations could be denied re-entry onto the ship, according to the Cruise Line International Association.

The other
The factor here is whether Caribbean nations will allow cruise lines to return. At the
At least one cruise line has resumed service from Barbados, but the region
Otherwise there has been no activity since the beginning of the pandemic. During the cruise
Industry is vital to many of these countries' economies, public health
The risk could lead some states to choose not to let visitors in.

If you cancel, the cruise line may give you a voucher worth more than your original trip

Each cruise line handles refunds, credits, and rebookings
different, said Gray Faust. “There is no industry policy for what is offered to guests
Choose to cancel on her own terms, ”she said.

Most cruise companies have eased their policies since the pandemic started to encourage customer loyalty.

If the
Cruise Line will cancel your sailing but you are likely to be eligible for a refund.
In most cases, however, you will automatically receive an from the operator
future cruise credit instead, and you will need to proactively request the refund.

But there could be benefits to waiting. Travel experts said
that some cruise lines offered future cruise credits that were worth more
than what a passenger has already paid for, which could be beneficial to those who seek
planning a trip to the distant future.

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