Clear Sailing Ahead

The cruise industry got some long-awaited good news yesterday (March 30) as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted its health notice on cruise travel.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) was quick to applaud the CDC’s March 30 decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising — a move that recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020.

In a statement, CLIA said: “From the onset of the pandemic, CLIA’s cruise line members have prioritized the health and safety of their guests, crew, and the communities they visit and are sailing today with health measures in place that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting.”

Holland America Line president, Gus Antorcha said that: “The CDC’s removal of its health notice related to cruise travel is an important step forward in recognizing the work we have done to protect our guests.”

Antorcha noted that: “At Holland America Line, we continue to operate vaccinated cruises and have created a safe and healthy environment for our guests, our teams, and the communities we serve, helping to ensure cruising is among the safest forms of socializing and travel.”

Holland America’s boss said that: “With the remainder of our ships set to return to service in the coming weeks, Holland America Line is looking forward to safely welcoming more guests back to cruising this spring and summer as we explore Alaska, Canada, New England, and Europe. We recently extended our Worry-Free Promise to allow flexible cancelation for cruise bookings made by May 31 and embarking by September 30 of this year.”

Virgin Voyages observed that the CDC’s voluntary dissolution of the Cruise Travel Health Notice – which was put in place two years to provided guidance to consumers on restrictions in cruise travel, grading systems and collaborative protocols for sailing safety — demonstrates the transition back into pre-pandemic operations for the cruise industry.

Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to see that the CDC recognizes that it’s time to remove the Travel Health Notice website. While we feel this was a long time coming, we recognize this move as a demonstration of all of the hard work this industry has done to ensure that we’re offering the safest way to travel. It’s refreshing to see them meet us where we’re at, and clearly where our consumers are at considering the major uptick in demand we’ve seen.”