Cruises could be set to resume in US – major ban to expire in days

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Though some European cruises have slowly returned to sailing, for big-name cruise lines hitting US waters, things have been extremely quiet in recent months. Following a major “no-sail” ban initially issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 14, cruise lines found themselves waiting for the green light for over 200 days.

However, now the ban is set to expire on September 30.

On March 14, the CDC stated: “Cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit or spread COVID-19.”

On April 9, it extended the ban for 100 days, and on July 16 it added an additional 100 days ban.

Now, high profile members of the cruise industry have come forward with plans to restart sailing in a way that combats the spread of coronavirus, which could mean promise ahead for cruise lovers.

The CDC has not yet made any comment on whether it will further extend the ban, or if new proposals will be accepted.

Proposals were put forward last week by the Healthy Sail Panel, spearheaded by experts from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

They were additionally supported by a number of health professionals.

Details of the plan include testing passengers before they are allowed to embark on a cruise, heightened cleaning using anti-virus products throughout ships, and major changes to onshore excursions.

If the plans are given the go-ahead, some of the largest cruise lines in the US will likely resume sailing in just over one month.

Carnival Cruise has set out November 1 for its restart date, with the exception of Carnival Australia Cruises which are suspended until December 3.

Disney Cruise Line has similar cited dates throughout November for the restart of its Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruises.

Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean are both set to resume sailing on November 1.

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However, it is not yet clear whether these dates be given the go-ahead.

Though cruises have resumed in parts of Europe, there have been outbreaks of COVID-19 reported.

A TUI cruise ship in Greece detected an outbreak among twelve members of its crew.

The infected group were placed into isolation onboard the vessel, with the cruise line hoping to resume the holiday as planned.

The Mein Schiff 6 was on a seven-night voyage around Greece, departing from the port of Heraklion in Crete.

According to the cruise line, all crew members are tested before departure, and quarantine 14 days prior to working.

None of the positive crew members had any symptoms of the virus.

TUI Cruises told “We have prepared very carefully for the resumption of cruises in these exceptional times, both on land and onboard, and have coordinated all processes with the relevant authorities.

“In addition to prevention before and during the voyage, extensive hygiene measures and distance rules on board, TUI Cruises also has defined processes on board in case of possible COVID 19 cases, which are now taking effect.

“As a part of TUI Cruises‘ health and hygiene concept, all crew is tested before they come on board and furthermore go into a 14-day-self-isolation on board before starting their work.

“In the course of the early warning system, the crew onboard is furthermore regularly tested for COVID-19.

“On Monday morning we received positive test results from 12 crew members of Mein Schiff 6 (currently sailing with guests in Greece) from an external laboratory.”

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