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ODDS OF JULY SAILINGS


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A part of me thinks the CDC will hold off cruising until well after they need to.  At that point there will be no need for a gradual restart, the crisis will have been over for many months.  

If that scenario plays out the only thing that will hinder a restart will be the logistics of actually getting ships back in operation. 

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11 minutes ago, twangster said:

The concept of a slow restart with 1 or 2 ships is more than one year old.  With each passing day as the CDC keeps the industry shuttered it's becoming more and more likely that the CDC may create a mass restart pretty close to all at once. 

I agree with this and moreover, think it has legs. I don't think it will be 100% of the fleet sailing as in the pre-pandemic period but I can see a stepwise, 25%, 50%, 75% phase in as crew become available, trained and ships and ports are physically readied.

My news feeds today are full of articles talking a major shift in the Biden administration's pandemic approach. The message coming from "unnamed White House Officials ..... not authorized to discuss this," is that President Biden is shifting from what has been characterized as an overly cautious return to pre-pandemic activity to one where there is recognition that people are burned out on restrictions. Reports offer that the President recognizes this is particularly true for those that have pursued vaccination and therefore messaging should be more focused on things vaccinated people can do as the nation returns to a post pandemic normalcy.

A lot of us have been calling for this shift in messaging from the COVID boogey man approach, such messaging intended to keep the masses from being to cavalier about the virus, to here's how to get back to normalcy safely and, oh, by-the-way, if you get vaccinated you can do MORE! It's the right message and one I've been advocating for since mid-March when it became blindingly obvious that the vaccines worked better than expected.

So, what could happen? Clearly, the cruise lines are in the get ready to go mode. What amounts to testing of safety protocols has been on-going for months outside the US and the data from this testing is very encouraging. Chatter about the love-fest between the cruise lines and the CDC is noteworthy. Crew movement is obvious.  It is unmistakable that RCG is shifting it's itineraries from the 3-5d range to 7-8d range. While popular, shorter cruises are less profitable unless there's tons of volume. My sense is that cruisers are less interested in 3-5d itineraries right now when the longer ones are already appearing on offer. I would also bet that of the RCL and Celebrity cruises on the books for July, there's more than a few B2B bookings. If one is going to fly to Europe, shorter cruises are less appealing than longer ones.

So, yeah, I like the fluorescent light bulb analogy. There's pressure from multiple directions on the Biden administration to start easing restrictions and talking up a return to a post pandemic normalcy. I think the FL lawsuit is a factor. It's not a major player but could Justice Department staffers be telling White House staffers that it is likely FL will prevail in it's law suit and the CDC and HHS are going to look bad if they do? I think that is entirely possible and the President, who often doesn't get the nitty-gritty but rather has it filtered, is getting the picture on the downsides of this CSO/NSO nonsense as it pertains to jobs and a troubled cruise line industry struggling because of heavy handed US government policy.

Good news today.   

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46 minutes ago, twangster said:

The concept of a slow restart with 1 or 2 ships is more than one year old.  With each passing day as the CDC keeps the industry shuttered it's becoming more and more likely that the CDC may create a mass restart pretty close to all at once. 

I was just looking over the itineraries for the 7-day sailings and outside of St. Maarten, Cozumel, and the Bahamas I haven't really seen much about the other ports and how they would be able to jump into action to get up and running.  Puerto Rico is a US territory and St. Thomas shouldn't be an issue since it is a US Virgin Island and I think is under the CDC jurisdiction as well?  I haven't heard much from Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Honduras. 

I'm sure they are all anxious to get tourism going again, but they all have different entry requirements so juggling that for each cruise itinerary would take a little bit of a time to coordinate. 

I know things will constantly be changing and it's almost a figure it out as you go situation (similar to what we are seeing with the changes for the Adventure sailings) but I know there's a lot going on behind the scenes and lots of dots that have to be connected to get started.  I'm sure Royal is working on a lot of that behind the scenes that we don't see or hear about, but I still feel there's going to be a lot of disappointed folks who think as soon as the CDC says OK everything will magically be smooth sailing.  

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27 minutes ago, JeffB said:

I agree with this and moreover, think it has legs. I don't think it will be 100% of the fleet sailing as in the pre-pandemic period but I can see a stepwise, 25%, 50%, 75% phase in as crew become available, trained and ships and ports are physically readied.

My news feeds today are full of articles talking a major shift in the Biden administration's pandemic approach. The message coming from "unnamed White House Officials ..... not authorized to discuss this," is that President Biden is shifting from what has been characterized as an overly cautious return to pre-pandemic activity to one where there is recognition that people are burned out on restrictions. Reports offer that the President recognizes this is particularly true for those that have pursued vaccination and therefore messaging should be more focused on things vaccinated people can do as the nation returns to a post pandemic normalcy.

A lot of us have been calling for this shift in messaging from the COVID boogey man approach, such messaging intended to keep the masses from being to cavalier about the virus, to here's how to get back to normalcy safely and, oh, by-the-way, if you get vaccinated you can do MORE! It's the right message and one I've been advocating for since mid-March when it became blindingly obvious that the vaccines worked better than expected.

So, what could happen? Clearly, the cruise lines are in the get ready to go mode. What amounts to testing of safety protocols has been on-going for months outside the US and the data from this testing is very encouraging. Chatter about the love-fest between the cruise lines and the CDC is noteworthy. Crew movement is obvious.  It is unmistakable that RCG is shifting it's itineraries from the 3-5d range to 7-8d range. While popular, shorter cruises are less profitable unless there's tons of volume. My sense is that cruisers are less interested in 3-5d itineraries right now when the longer ones are already appearing on offer. I would also bet that of the RCL and Celebrity cruises on the books for July, there's more than a few B2B bookings. If one is going to fly to Europe, shorter cruises are less appealing than longer ones.

So, yeah, I like the fluorescent light bulb analogy. There's pressure from multiple directions on the Biden administration to start easing restrictions and talking up a return to a post pandemic normalcy. I think the FL lawsuit is a factor. It's not a major player but could Justice Department staffers be telling White House staffers that it is likely FL will prevail in it's law suit and the CDC and HHS are going to look bad if they do? I think that is entirely possible and the President, who often doesn't get the nitty-gritty but rather has it filtered, is getting the picture on the downsides of this CSO/NSO nonsense as it pertains to jobs and a troubled cruise line industry struggling because of heavy handed US government policy.

Good news today.   

I hope you are right with the shift in messaging because the current messaging combined with the botched handling of the J&J hold and then restart is adding to vaccine hesitancy among those who are already on the fence about getting vaccinated. The administration cant complain about the unvaccinated while sending out mixed messaging on vaccine efficacy. Outdoor masking recommendations will be dropped soon as they should have been a year ago....but i digress. 

From a political standpoint, maybe the tone on Covid messaging will shift as well because of Bidens approval ratings that were released this week. 

Either way, I hope we see some movement before the date of the hearing in May. 

I will stay cautiously optimistic that many factors will move the needle but realize its a Herculean Task to get the CDC to back down at this point

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22 hours ago, PG Cruiser said:

In the words of Han Solo, "Never tell me the odds"

However, in the words on Effie Trinket, "May the odds forever be in your favor"

This Han Solo quote might be more on point right now................"I've got a bad feeling about this."

 

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I would say based on all the new findings, that September is looking like the best bet. Although I do not put anything pass the CDC, I cannot see waiting until the CSO expire as a viable start date. Especially if those cruises from the Bahamas go well. No other US business has been without some sort of revenue for over a year. With people traveling and having the option to travel to Europe, they will start to feel that missing revenue. They are literally having concerts, some that are even used to promote vaccinations, sporting events with full or almost full capacity. If people have the option for those activities, why not cruising. I'm not just saying this because I have an Oct 31st allure sailing that I really want to happen

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

I'm starting to wonder if the restart will be more like a fluorescent light bulb.  A few flickers then full brightness.  

The concept of a slow restart with 1 or 2 ships is more than one year old.  With each passing day as the CDC keeps the industry shuttered it's becoming more and more likely that the CDC may create a mass restart pretty close to all at once. 

One could argue the short 3/4 Mariner/Navigator idea has been replaced by all the ships that have sailed plus Adventure and Vision.  With those "restart" cruises complete the flick of the switch may come all at once with the rest of the fleet or as soon as they can crew the ships once the CDC ends it's reign of terror.    

I think at this point cruises only resume in the US when the whole CDC/COSO thing is just blown on out of the water. At that stage it makes no sense to ease into it, you might as well go full bore on all ships at once .. especially since you will have an entire world full of vaccinated people waiting to get on the ships both to work and to vacation so why limit your capacity.

I think the whole gradual startup was conceived when we were talking about July of 2020 when people wouldn't be vaccinated yet and it would be hard to convince large numbers of people to come out, safe guard lots of crews, etc. and they wanted to take the time to "learn to be careful". None of that is going to be relevant at this rate.

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52 minutes ago, jticarruthers said:

I think the whole gradual startup was conceived when we were talking about July of 2020 when people wouldn't be vaccinated yet and it would be hard to convince large numbers of people to come out, safe guard lots of crews, etc. and they wanted to take the time to "learn to be careful". None of that is going to be relevant at this rate.

But there still may be a need for a gradual startup just due to international staffing delays.

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I have emailed the CDC twice and both times I received the standard response that can be seen on their website. I sent the following email to them, and surprise, I did not get a response back. In my believe, the CDC will keep tight on this as long as they can.  My response is in bold. 

 

Passengers who plan to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information concerning their itineraries. (Didn't ask about that)

CDC has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice with a clear recommendation to avoid all cruise travel due to ongoing spread of COVID-19 and the increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases on cruise ships. (There is no ongoing spread. That is a statement from Oct 2020, the rate is now decreasing)

 

The CSO, outlined in Oct 2020, stated what cruise lines needed to do in order to sail again:

*Testing and additional safeguards for crew members.  DONE

*Cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers. DONE

*Simulated voyages to test cruise operators' ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk. ALREADY PROVEN

The CSO also states that in October 2020 the virus "continues to spread rapidly around the world with no U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized vaccines."   There are now at least vaccines that are working  and more and more people are being vaccinated..in the United States 38% of the population have had a least one dose and almost 25% of the nation is fully vaccinated. Since Jan 8, 2020 the 7 day average of new cases in the United States has DECREASED by an average of 202,295 people and the deaths over the same period have DECREASED an average of 2,002 deaths per 7 days.

The CSO is outdated as is being proven by science and data. It is time to rescind that order and allow Cruise operators to get all of their people back to work.

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14 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Or if the lawsuit has teeth

Lawsuit is entertainment to keep us from getting bored but I'll be surprised if a judge wipes out the CSO.

The lawsuit has a purpose to keep the issue into public awareness and to get the attention of the administration.  It may be the catalyst that moves the administrator to intervene when the judge doesn't act immediately and it turns into a long term court case.

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24 minutes ago, twangster said:

I think either the administration steps in and directs the CDC to get real or cruising remains locked down until Nov. 1.

I think it's that simple. 

I agree. It really is going to take the administration jumping in and kicking the CDC into allowing cruises to re-start. I really hope that the lock down does not continue till Nov. 1. That would bean another booked cruise to reschedule. 

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6 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

There's probably a better chance that the lawsuit gets an injunction than the CDC opening things up before November.  Maybe not much more of a chance though

My thoughts of the day are no injunction and the CDC does the only thing it does best - nothing. 

At some point in June the administration sees how out of touch the CDC has grown and gives them a kick under the table that we never see.  At that point, sometime in June, the countdown timer starts to a restart. T- 60 days ish. 

The administration won't do it publicly in case it backfires. 

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I saw mentioned back up a bit that people are getting burned out on restrictions.  
 

Working in a supermarket, I see this more and more every day.  Pandemic Fatigue is real and starting to take over.  

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, those people are questioning masks, capacity limits, and distancing measures.   To put it bluntly, people are getting pissed. 
 

At some point (and I believe it will be soon), things are going to come to a head, especially as the demand for vaccines drops due to the majority being vaccinated.  I hope that the federal government (ie. CDC) doesn’t try to maintain some semblance of control by continuing to refuse cruising from US ports. 
 

On a personal note, the ban on cruising from US ports may be the catalyst we need to take a cruise in Europe this summer since my wife and I will be considered fully vaccinated in a couple weeks. 

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2 hours ago, teddy said:

I saw mentioned back up a bit that people are getting burned out on restrictions.  
 

Working in a supermarket, I see this more and more every day.  Pandemic Fatigue is real and starting to take over.  

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, those people are questioning masks, capacity limits, and distancing measures.   To put it bluntly, people are getting pissed. 
 

At some point (and I believe it will be soon), things are going to come to a head, especially as the demand for vaccines drops due to the majority being vaccinated.  I hope that the federal government (ie. CDC) doesn’t try to maintain some semblance of control by continuing to refuse cruising from US ports. 
 

On a personal note, the ban on cruising from US ports may be the catalyst we need to take a cruise in Europe this summer since my wife and I will be considered fully vaccinated in a couple weeks. 

My next booking isn't until Nov, but if that get's axed, I will start moving those deposits/credit to non-US embarkations and pay the extra airfare.  It's ridiculous.  

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Thoughts if this might be some progress in CDC's mindset changing or just becoming more flexible...

From this article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2021/04/28/cdc-cruises-could-restart-july/4883450001/

Based on industry feedback, the CDC landed on five clarifications to its additional guidance issued April 2 to allow a resumption of sailing:

  • Ships can bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
  • CDC will review and respond to applications from cruise lines for simulated voyages within 5 days, a review previously expected to take 60 days.
  • CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with the CDC's guidance for fully vaccinated people. So, for example, instead of taking a PCR lab test ahead of boarding vaccinated passengers can take a rapid antigen test upon embarkation.
  • CDC has clarified that cruise ship operators may enter into a "multi-port agreement" rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
  • The CDC has clarified guidance on quarantine guidelines for passengers who may be exposed to or contract COVID-19. For example, local passengers may be able to drive home and passengers who have traveled to cruise may quarantine in a hotel.
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5 hours ago, CGTLH said:

Thoughts if this might be some progress in CDC's mindset changing or just becoming more flexible...

From this article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2021/04/28/cdc-cruises-could-restart-july/4883450001/

Based on industry feedback, the CDC landed on five clarifications to its additional guidance issued April 2 to allow a resumption of sailing:

  • Ships can bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
  • CDC will review and respond to applications from cruise lines for simulated voyages within 5 days, a review previously expected to take 60 days.
  • CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with the CDC's guidance for fully vaccinated people. So, for example, instead of taking a PCR lab test ahead of boarding vaccinated passengers can take a rapid antigen test upon embarkation.
  • CDC has clarified that cruise ship operators may enter into a "multi-port agreement" rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
  • The CDC has clarified guidance on quarantine guidelines for passengers who may be exposed to or contract COVID-19. For example, local passengers may be able to drive home and passengers who have traveled to cruise may quarantine in a hotel.

What stands out to me is why would the CDC all of a sudden would allow sailing "if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated" unless the CDC is leaving a "window open for failure", so-to-speak, should there be an outbreak onboard to cover their backside and throw blame on the cruiselines claiming "we told you so". Sounds like a set up.

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8 hours ago, CGTLH said:

Thoughts if this might be some progress in CDC's mindset changing or just becoming more flexible...

 

I think it's real progress.  And given the rumors of hotels full of cruise workers in south Florida and the reports of 2 Carnival ships heading to Galveston to prep for cruises, I believe the cruise lines are committed to making it work.

In other words I went from hopelessly pessimistic to an incurable optimist in about 2 nanoseconds!

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7 minutes ago, Tarheel0907 said:

they cant expect to have all cruises vaccination mandatory. As i said in my OP, if you are vaccinated no need for a test to board, if you arent you need a test just as you were entering the country.. its pretty simple really

 

It's only simple if the CDC agrees with that approach.

Cruise lines don't get to make up the rules.  They have to play by the rules the CDC is allowing.  

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@Tarheel0907I would disagree, having a 95% vaccinated cruise is a totally reasonable expectation. It is a way of absolution. We must keep in mind that having a negative test at one juncture does not mean that person is covid free. However, having been vaccinated means the chances are a lot less.

 

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4 hours ago, twangster said:

It's only simple if the CDC agrees with that approach.

Cruise lines don't get to make up the rules.  They have to play by the rules the CDC is allowing.  

The CDC can't mandate a vaccine. But as we saw from that report, they sure can make it a PITA if you don't want to have a mostly vaccinated cruise.

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