Are Cruise Lines Ready to Sail Again?
CDC Lifts Cruise Ban.
Are Cruise Ships Ready to Start Sailing Again?
Today, October 30, 2020 the CDC lifted the “no-sail” order for cruise ships. That does not the mean the cruise lines are free to set sail again. The lifting of the no-sail order comes with restrictions where the cruise lines will have to demonstrate compliance with, and capability to implement, new restrictions put in place by the CDC. First, the cruise lines will have to demonstrate their capabilities on test-run cruises. (This will likely be employees-only acting in the capacity of passengers.) The cruise lines will also apparently have to demonstrate the ability to test and report test results on the vessel. This is something that makes good sense, to have the ability on a vessel to test for Covid-19 and report results in a quick turnaround to know who tests positive.
We question whether full or even partial cruises will be coming soon. First, the cruise lines have to pass the CDC steps. Second, the major cruise lines have previously said they do not see cruise resuming before the end of the year. Third, the ports of call will have something to say as to whether they will allow cruise ships to dock and disembark passengers from U.S. locations. Canada for instance has a no-docking policy in place that does not expire before the end of February. Fourth, Covid cases are on the rise, not the decline. It is difficult to see cruise ships full of passengers—or even half-full cruises ships—until Covid-19 is under better control.
Our best estimate is that cruise lines will of course try to comply with the CDC guidelines, and to open the door to providing cruises again. We are certain the cruise lines would want to take advantage of the Spring 2021 season, including what would normally be Spring Break. We are not seeing it. Certainly not on a large scale. And, you would have to convince passengers to get back on board the vessels. We view the summer of 2021 to be more realistic to get the cruise lines back to appreciable capacity. We are sure the cruise lines hope to be off and running well before then, but it is difficult to see that when the cases of Covid-19 are spiking upward people will be cruising in big numbers any time soon.
We do understand the cruise lines trying to move forward. And new safety measures to protect passengers is a good thing.