Bermello Ajamil & Partners – When Will Cruise Ships Sail Again in North America?

Bermello Ajamil & Partners  (Logo)The North American cruise industry was effectively canceled for much of 2020, with no Alaska, Bermuda, Canada & New England, or Mexican Riviera season, and only limited Bahamas and Caribbean activity early in the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We were poised for the start of a recovery in fall 2020 and a more robust restart of cruising to the Caribbean and Bahamas this month once the industry met the Conditional Sail Order (CSO) framework published on October 30, 2020.

However, the CDC has yet to release the necessary technical guidelines needed to fulfill the requirements, including details for embark, debark, testing, destination agreements, and more.

Once those are provided and digested along with the Onboard Crew Framework and No Sail Order Response Plan under the CSO, brands can then only apply for a Covid-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate. Based on our read of the CSO, this requires them to find third party auditors (approved by the CDC) to review and document their Sailing Plan for EVERY ship the brand intends to operate with passengers in U.S. waters.

To obtain the certificate, cruise operators must comply, adhere, design, develop and respond to a cadre of CDC requirements that are laid out in the CSO Framework and others that are not yet defined, but are noted as part of the CDC’s technical guidelines (see BA’s briefing on the CDC’s CSO here).

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