Cruise breakthrough: Major cruise lines unveil new measures in bid to restart US sailings

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Coronavirus testing will be compulsory for all cruise passengers and crew members prior to boarding as major cruise lines look to restart voyages in the US. The CLIA, a trade group representing 95 percent of the world’s ocean cruise capacity, revealed on Monday that extensive health and safety measures have been announced for its members. Another of the new health and safety measures requires passengers and crew wearing masks while onboard wherever social distancing cannot be maintained.

Itineraries are also likely to be modified so they are shorter.

Other measures include ventilation using advanced air filter systems, increased medical proficiency and limited shore excursions.

The new measures could see a very different experience for future cruisers.

CLIA is hoping that if the new measures are supported by public health authorities along with ports then cruises could restart before the end of the year.

Global chair of CLIA Adam Goldstein said: “We are in a position to announce mandatory core elements of health protocols that we see as a path [to the resumption of cruising].”

Kelly Craighead, the president and chief executive of CLIA said: “Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the US before the end of this year.”

Cruises have resumed in some parts of Europe and elsewhere over the last few weeks.

Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival, has two cruises of Italy this month.

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Currently, The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in the UK is advising against cruise ship travel.

The advice includes international travel on a ship that is for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure activities.

River cruises are exempt from the government’s advice and began in June.

It’s currently unclear when cruises will be able to restart across the UK and other parts of the world.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a no-sail order across US waters which is in place until September 30.

CLIA’s new safety plan will be proposed to the CDC which will decide whether to lift the no-sail order.

The order was first put in place in March but has already been extended twice.

At the time of writing, the US has recorded over seven million cases of COVID-19 and more than 200,000 deaths.

The CLIA announced last month that its ocean cruise line members agreed to voluntarily suspend US cruise operations until October 31.

CLIA said at the time: “Despite the valuable alignment between CLIA’s previous voluntary suspension to 15 September and the CDC’s current No-Sail Order date of September 30, we believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of US ocean-going cruise operations to October 31.

“This is a difficult decision, as we recognise the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry.

“However, we believe this proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior.

“CLIA cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension on or before September 30, 2020. At the same time, should conditions in the US change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart.”

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