cruise could restart in American waters in midsummer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday in a letter to the cruise industry the US received TODAY.

“We recognize that cruising will never be a risk-free activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission on board cruise lines and across port communities “wrote Aimee Treffiletti, head of the maritime unit for the CDC’s COVID-19 response as part of its Global Mitigation Task Force. .

In a statement accompanying the letter, Spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey gave the US TODAY a more precise schedule. Cruises could begin with passenger travel from the US in mid-July, depending on the cruise line pace and compliance CDC frame for conditional sail orders.

“CDC looks forward to continuing to work with the industry and urges cruise lines to submit Phase 2A port agreements as soon as possible in order to meet the passenger travel schedule by mid-July,” said Shockey.

Bari Golin-Blaugrund, vice president of strategic communications for the Cruise Lines International Association trading group, told USA TODAY in a statement Thursday that the industry is being encouraged by CDC communications.

“Our technical experts are currently reviewing the information and its implications. However, we are optimistic that these clarifications show positive progress – and most importantly, a proven commitment to constructive dialogue that is key to resuming cruising, as we are with other governments and health authorities around the world have seen, “said Golin-Blueground.

She added that the letter shows that the voice of the cruise community has been heard. “We are very grateful for that,” she said.

“We are confident that the latest CDC letter heralds more good things,” Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., told USA TODAY on Thursday.

And on Thursday morning in one Declaration before the Royal Caribbean Group’s profit callRichard Fain, chairman and CEO, said he was happy with the news.

“Last night the CDC notified us of some clarifications and additions to their Conditional Sailing Ordinance that addressed uncertainties and concerns we had raised,” said Fain. “You have addressed many of these points in a constructive way, taking into account recent advances in vaccine and medical science. While this is only part of a very complex process, it encourages us that we now have a path to a healthy and achievable process see return to duty, hopefully in time for a season in Alaska. “

The letter followed a month of bi-weekly meetings with representatives of the cruise industry. During these meetings, the industry and the health department discussed the conditional sailing regulation.

While the CDC has set a possible restart date for cruises departing from U.S. ports this summer, that doesn’t mean the restrictions on cruises will be lifted. The CDC has refined its guidelines based on industry feedback and continues to expect cruise lines to meet their requirements before sailing can resume.

“The resailing schedule depends on the pace of the cruise line and compliance with the Conditional Sailing Order,” said Shockey on Thursday in the US. “Ships with a certificate of vaccination can bypass simulated voyages, reducing the schedule for these operators.”

Based on industry feedback, the CDC landed on five clarifications to theirs additional guidance issued April 2nd to allow sailing to resume:

  • Ships can bypass the required simulated volunteer test trips and jump to sails with paying passengers when 98% of the crew and 95% of the passengers are fully vaccinated.
  • CDC will review and respond to requests from cruise lines for simulated travel within five days. This exam is expected to take 60 days.
  • The CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sails with paying passengers to align with the CDC’s guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. For example, vaccinated passengers can perform a rapid antigen test when boarding instead of performing a PCR laboratory test before boarding.
  • CDC has made it clear that cruise line 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 guidelines on quarantine guidelines for passengers who are exposed to COVID-19 or who are entering into a contract. For example, local passengers may be able to drive home, and passengers who have traveled by plane for the cruise can be quarantined at a hotel.

Whether to resume the cruise in the US under pressure from all sides

In the last few months the CDC has been under pressure from many quarters to restart or wait.

At the end of MarchThe cruise industry has pushed for the CDC to lift its conditional sailing ordinance, calling the agency’s restrictions “obsolete”. Other members of the travel sector made their views known their support for an accelerated return to sailing too.

And politicians have also played a tug of war with this topic. Some lawmakers are urging the CDC to allow cruises to restart, while others are urging the agency to further delay approving ships amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

In one Letter sent this monthSenator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., And Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., Urged CDC’s Walensky to maintain current cruise restrictions.

Your letter came on the heels of one Florida lawsuit against the CDC, Which Alaska has joined, and new legislation proposed by Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Sullivan of Alaska with the aim of breaking the CDC’s restrictions on cruises and getting ships to sail by July.

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg also took a look at the cruise industry’s slow restart White House Press Conference April 9thHe knows the CDC is “hopeful” if cruise lines are able to sail into midsummer.

“Well the bottom line is security,” he said. “Aircraft have a safety profile; cruise lines have a different; vehicles have a different. And each must be treated based on what is safe for that sector.”

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One year without a cruise:No ‘crystal ball’ to say when sailing might restart amid COVID-19

Read the CDC letter

The first page of the letter US received TODAY from the CDC to the cruise industry.Second page of CDC's letter to the cruise industry that US received TODAY.Page 3 of the CDC letter to the cruise industry US received TODAY.Page 4 of CDC's letter to the cruise industry received TODAY.