While Royal Caribbean announced it will restart cruises in Singapore, the big question is when will they be able to cruise again from the United States?
The next couple of weeks could be a moment of truth for the industry. In order for cruises to resume sooner than later in the USA, at least three key things have to go Royal Caribbean's way.
Based on comments from last week's meeting with the cruise lines and Vice President Mike Pence, here are the three big things that have to fall into place for Royal Caribbean.
No outbreaks on ships in Europe
There are limited cruises operating in Europe (including Royal Caribbean's partial subsidiary TUI Cruises), and how well they do is very important to cruises having any chance in the United States.
If we start to see an outbreak on any of the European sailings, they are using the same safety protocols that cruise lines hope to employ here in the United States. A problem there would create significant cause for concern for cruises to safely operate there.
Thus far, European cruises have operated with limited issues. The "system" has to work well there for there to be proof that something similar can work in the United States.
No dramatic rise in the case count in Florida
Another potential impact to restart plans is if the home of Royal Caribbean's major cruise ports sees a lot of cases around the state, which would put the healthcare infrastructure at risk.
The cruise lines are going to be watching that case count very closely in Florida, as that is where the industry want to initially restart sailings.
Despite the fact Royal Caribbean has pledged 100% testing of its passengers and crew, a rising case count is not good for any business and the cruise lines need a stable situation at home.
The CDC will either lift or extend its ban
Perhaps the most critical step for Royal Caribbean is the end of the prohibition against cruises operating from the United States.
Closer to the end of October, U.S. Center for Disease Control will make the decision to extend or lift the No Sail order.
In the meantime, the cruise operators are in the process of bringing back a lot of their crew to ensure that if they do get the green light from the CDC, that they have a staff available to set sail.
One of the major takeaways from the meeting last week was the cruise line's proposal will be presented to the Task Force in order to provide a recommendation to President Donald Trump with regard to next steps on the CDC’s No Sail Order.
A lot of what happens over the next couple of weeks could factor into what happens to the No Sail order.