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US cruises could restart soon with 'passenger voyages by mid-July,' CDC says


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@twangster Your post are more so neutral than negative...which is cautious. I get being cautious.

I am more so speaking about people who want to cruise but are balking at the vaccine requirements. I have had quite a few cruises cancelled and I get that hopes have risen only to be dashed again and again. I chose to wait after three bookings were cancelled and decided not to book anymore until fall of 2021 to save myself the disappointment.  So this news is positive as my sailings commence in October.

I guess I just expected more positive speculation....but meh.

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12 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

@twangster Your post are more so neutral than negative...which is cautious. I get being cautious.

I am more so speaking about people who want to cruise but are balking at the vaccine requirements. I have had quite a few cruises cancelled and I get that hopes have risen only to be dashed again and again. I chose to wait after three bookings were cancelled and decided not to book anymore until fall of 2021 to save myself the disappointment.  So this news is positive as my sailings commence in October.

I guess I just expected more positive speculation....but meh.

Everyone is out of sorts with a year plus of no cruising.  Like kids who need a nap, we all just need a cruise before we will be back to ourselves.

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6 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Based on how slowly / poorly the sailings on Adventure and Vision are selling, I think that’s a fairly sold, “Nuh uh”. Even at 50% capacity cap, there is still a ton of inventory available.

I don't see  that Adventure sales are anything but brisk... I checked dates out to September and a number of categories are sold out up and down the line   and price increases have taken place in some situations... Even when I did find the combo of things I was looking for regarding category dates et. sections of the ship were already sold out.  I can't speak to Vision as I didn't shop it but may. The potential restart in USA I'm sure will distract  from their sailings though... 

 

 

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Im travelling with a 13, and 17 year old who more than likely wont be vaccinated ( my wife and I are).

I also do not want my children vaccinated whilst the vaccines are still officially under trial. I can only hope that for this summer they allow children on board with a negative test.  If after that cruises are for vaccinated persons only I will no longer be cruising!

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1 hour ago, icf75 said:

Im travelling with a 13, and 17 year old who more than likely wont be vaccinated ( my wife and I are).

I also do not want my children vaccinated whilst the vaccines are still officially under trial. I can only hope that for this summer they allow children on board with a negative test.  If after that cruises are for vaccinated persons only I will no longer be cruising!

If the emergency injunction against the CDC and the CSO on May 12 is successful you won't have any issues.  At least not from a Florida port.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

If the emergency injunction against the CDC and the CSO on May 12 is successful you won't have any issues.  At least not from a Florida port.

Sorry im not up to speed with this, but isnt it more to do with what RC put in place, based on the last CDC info to resume cruising?

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40 minutes ago, icf75 said:

Sorry im not up to speed with this, but isnt it more to do with what RC put in place, based on the last CDC info to resume cruising?

So far Royal has not put anything in place for US based cruises so we have nothing to give insight to what they'll do or how the unpublished CDC requirements might guide their policy for US based cruises.

If the CSO is struck down in court it opens the door for cruising without CSO requirements but we don't know what policy Royal might put in place anyways.

NCL has stated their policy will be vaccinate or don't sail for all guests including kids.  Royal has not stated the same policy.  

Royal did put a vaccine requirement combined with a testing requirement for those ineligible to vaccinate for Bahamas and Bermuda based cruises.  For kids that are currently ineligible to vaccinate Royal will accept a negative PCR test.  It's not clear what happens once kids 12 and up are eligible to vaccinate, assuming that FDA emergency approval is coming for kids 12+ as expected. 

At first glance the Bahamas/Bermuda policy would require anyone who is eligible to vaccinate to be vaccinated.  In that case kids 12+ would need to be vaccinated just like NCL.  I'm assuming Royal will implement a work around if the timing of emergency approval doesn't leave enough time for kids to be fully vaccinated with a two shot vaccine during an initial interim period.  

However all that is not for US based cruises, that policy only applies to Bahamas and Bermuda departures.

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

If the emergency injunction against the CDC and the CSO on May 12 is successful you won't have any issues.  At least not from a Florida port.

Florida doesnt have a chance based on their argument which states, "that the lawsuit is 'likely to succeed on the merits of the case,' and it is therefore entitled to the injunction due to 'irreparable harm and hardships' created by the CDC’s actions." 

Moreover, considering that the cruiselines have gotten the go for mid-July pending meeting requirements, the Courts will most likely dismiss and/or adjourn to a date past July to render decision to see if the cruiselines did what they had to do for a mid-July opening. 

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13 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

I too am a bit shocked by how pessimistic a lot of people are being about this more positive news. All the cruises not cruising from US ports require vaccination. We all have been assuming that to start there would be mask and vaccination requirements. 95 and 98% are not bad numbers and very easy to achieve. This is not something I would consider jumping through hoops.

 

It was just 2 or 3 weeks ago where the CDC stated the very firmly the CSO stands until November 1st, which frustrated cruise lines, their employees and passengers alike. Now they are saying we are committed to resuming cruising in July but with 98% of crew and 95% of passengers vaccinated.  Call me pessimistic that's fine but it seems like someone somewhere with some real authority is applying pressure on the CDC.  As good as this news at this point nothing the CDC says or does can be taken at face value, and I do believe the CDC will step back and hope the cruise industry in this country fails. 

 

Cruise lines in this country have stated they can manage COVID and resume operations safely without any outbreaks.  There maybe 1 or 2 cases on a ship every so often but no major outbreaks. I believe someone is putting the CDC back on a leash and saying give the cruise lines a chance to prove they can handle COVID safely in this country, and if there is an outbreak onboard a cruise ship we shut the industry down again.  This is why I'm cautiously optimistic and why I believe cruise line will need to go further than simply asking to see vaccination cards especially in the first 2 or 3 months after operations resume.  With there being a rise in fake vaccination cards if cruise lines don't take it a step further and verify vaccination status with a quick serologic test then it is possible that we will be right back where we are today in August or September.  In my mind I believe the CDC is hoping the cruise lines trust but don't verify vaccination status, so at the first sign of 50 or 100 COVID infections on a ship they can shut the entire industry down again.  And if that happens another shut down who knows when the CDC would allow cruise to resume.  The cruise lines have one chance to get this right and prove the CDC wrong I just hope they don't fill in the blank it up. 

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12 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

The concern over fake vaccination cards is wildly overblown.  Also if herd immunity supposedly kicks in around 75% vaccinated, then 95% is just the CDC playing games.

Let's just say your numbers are correct, wouldn't you feel more safer being around 95% vaccinated people rather than 75%?? I know I would. Don't knock it considering that's 20% of un-vaccinated people are the ones that you will be around and you don't know who those 20% are at any given time.

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18 minutes ago, princevaliantus said:

Let's just say your numbers are correct, wouldn't you feel more safer being around 95% vaccinated people rather than 75%?? I know I would. Don't knock it considering that's 20% of un-vaccinated people are the ones that you will be around and you don't know who those 20% are at any given time.

I couldn't care less if I were on a ship full of unvaccinated people (as it used to be). The risks are minimal, and  those at greater risk should be vaccinated.  I don't like the idea of this mass coercion into getting the whole world vaccinated (that's a another topic), we need to live with this like we do flu! Not making people scared of the  'unvaccinated'.  There is now no reason in my mind why cruising cannot resume immediately.

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23 minutes ago, princevaliantus said:

Let's just say your numbers are correct, wouldn't you feel more safer being around 95% vaccinated people rather than 75%?? I know I would. Don't knock it considering that's 20% of un-vaccinated people are the ones that you will be around and you don't know who those 20% are at any given time.

Given my age, health status, etc. I felt safe getting on a ship as far back as last May with just a t-shirt (aka mask) wrapped around my face.

A year later and having been vaccinated I have zero concern about what the status is of the people around me.

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22 minutes ago, icf75 said:

I couldn't care less if I were on a ship full of unvaccinated people (as it used to be). The risks are minimal, and  those at greater risk should be vaccinated.  I don't like the idea of this mass coercion into getting the whole world vaccinated (that's a another topic), we need to live with this like we do flu! Not making people scared of the  'unvaccinated'.  There is now no reason in my mind why cruising cannot resume immediately.

I've come to realize more and more that this is essentially my position, especially as cases continue to follow a seasonal trend despite containment efforts. It seems obvious to me that this is here to stay, vaccine or not. A lot of the arguments we're using right now to frame the problem will set us up for a future where we can once again be told to put our lives on hold if cases begin increasing again (as they likely will this fall). The only argument that has any lasting power is essentially the one you made: COVID is here to stay, people have the power to make choices which will limit their personal risk to a great degree (IE vaccines), and we are prepared to care for the ones who come down with serious cases of the virus.

I also think the coming fall will be a bell weather of sorts for future cold/flu/COVID seasons. The earlier than expected and more severe onset of RSV cases in Australia suggests that we may have inadvertently done harm to young children by locking down and depriving them of the opportunity to get infected and train their immune systems with commonly circulating viruses. If we have a worse than normal flu season, I can forsee a future where an emboldened CDC uses the last year of experience with COVID to continue recommending some of the same precautions that exist today.

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36 minutes ago, icf75 said:

I don't like the idea of this mass coercion into getting the whole world vaccinated (that's a another topic), we need to live with this like we do flu! Not making people scared of the  'unvaccinated'.  There is now no reason in my mind why cruising cannot resume immediately.

Your logic makes sense from the Wal Mart perspective, meaning, if someone catches Covid at Walmart, it doesn't make the news, and it becomes a statistic for the county.

Cruise ships are different because of the optics involved. You cannot have a cruise ship sailing and oops, there are 1, 5, 11, or 50 cases of Covid onboard, because the media will go absolutely bananas covering it as a "super spreader" event with non-stop helicopter coverage.

Is that right? Of course not. It's not fair, and it's not what should happen.  But it absolutely will happen. When there was that false positive on Quantum in December, that one case made the national news here in the U.S. for a Singaporean sailing.

If you think they can ignore the media coverage, then it becomes even worse. Unfortunately, you start getting legislators and public officials involved because the media hounds them with "Why where they allowed to sail? Why haven't they stopped the cruise?" Nevermind the public relations black eye of perpetuating the "petri dish" stereotype.

So you're absolutely right there's no reason cruising cannot resume immediately, but they also cannot restart without a great deal of safeguards in place first and then ease back on them slowly.

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As the thread evolves we see many different perspectives which is a good thing.

The challenge facing the cruise lines, in as much as they can implement a policy within the framework outlined by the CDC will be arriving at an approach that satisfies the most while keeping the company safe and in operation as the virus evolves and new variants come into play.

On one extreme we have going back to the way it was with no protocols and no requirements related to virus mitigation.  I'm not sure the CDC is going to allow that approach at least until Nov. 1 nor do I think any cruise line will attempt this as there is great risk to the brand and cruising in general should an outbreak, even a minor outbreak occur.

On the other extreme they have to go with Singapore like protocols as if there is no vaccine so that they don't have to ask the question "are you vaccinated or not?".  Any guest can be accommodated, any age, at entire ship of unvaccinated can sail. Protocols would include daily temperature checks, masks outdoors, testing every few days, distancing and capacity controls, contact tracing tracelets - all the protocols that allowed ships to sail safely without vaccines.

You can argue all you want why it should be one or the other but somewhere between the two extremes will be an approach allowed by the CDC that will be acceptable to many (but not all) potential cruise guests while minimizing the opportunity to feed the media frenzy an outbreak will induce.

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In a way, a bad flu season would be a good thing, since that'd mean covid isn't around to choke out the flu virus like it is now worldwide.

 

I think the 95% thing is showmanship by the CDC.  If they can approve your test cruise plan in 5 days, why would you not take the test cruise? Otherwise you're pigeonholed into the 95% thing.

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Like many I have concerns sharing health related information with private companies yet I can see why cruise lines need to understand what they they are dealing with as they strive to find the optimal protocols to implement on board from one sailing to another.

One solution is to implement different protocols for those that to choose to share their vaccine status.  Anyone who doesn't vaccinate or chooses not to disclose their status can sail but with more protocols.  Daily temperature checks, onboard testing every few days, tracelets, ideally no masks outdoors but masks while in transit indoors moving between cabins and dining for example.  This can accommodate families of all ages.  

To differentiate they could do what they do with certain youth Seapass cards - print them vertically. 

If you choose to share your fully vaccinated status you would get a normal looking SeaPass and face fewer protocols.  No daily temperature checks, no testing on board, no tracelets.  

Between the tracelet and the SeaPass card crew will know what protocols are required for each guest.  Fail to follow your assigned protocols and off you go at the next port of call.

I can already hear pushback to the idea of differentiating between guests but the alternative requires they assume no one is vaccinated and all Singapore protocols apply to everyone.  I don't want to sail like that, that's not why I chose to vaccinate.  I should not be penalized because someone else hasn't vaccinated.   

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I'm worried about a resurgence of other viruses alongside COVID for the simple fact that humanity's risk calculator is already so screwed up from this... There were people all over my social media accounts pulling their support from a very popular museum in my very red state because they were going to resume an outdoor event with optional and situational mask requirements rather than a blanket mandate to wear one. It truly is absurd, and a bad flu season will only embolden people to make the argument that we should never really take them off or go back to normal.

I'm not sure what the best move is... Matt and Twangster are right that there will be a media circus if an outbreak happens on a cruise ship, although to my mind that's a matter of "when" and not "if".

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10 minutes ago, twangster said:

I can already hear pushback to the idea of differentiating between guests but the alternative requires they assume no one is vaccinated and all Singapore protocols apply to everyone.  I don't want to sail like that, that's not why I chose to vaccinate.  I should not be penalized because someone else hasn't vaccinated.   

I like this for the most part, but if it's about risk mitigation then you get into this hairy situation where people over a certain age should be masking and social distancing regardless of vaccination status. I'm just not sure we want to venture into this world where the cruise lines (or anyone else for that matter) are responsible for safeguarding your health beyond some level of reasonability.

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46 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

If they can approve your test cruise plan in 5 days, why would you not take the test cruise?

Quick read of the CSO, starting page 24, gives me the impression the simulated voyage could be a pain. Plus it reads the possibility of a series of simulated voyages.

Way I read the standards...

  1. Inform volunteers the simulated voyage can be risky activity
  2. Volunteers need to be 18+ and have written certification of having no pre-existing conditions that would classify them high risk.
  3. Volunteers can't be rewarded or sailing be a condition of employment.
  4. Need of crew members beyond the safe minimum manning level.
  5. Voyage has to be designed to test the efficacy of risk mitigation.
  6. Monitored observation period and laboratory testing of volunteers.
  7. Standard activities must be done. (embarkation/disembarkation plus check-in, on board activities, shore excursions must be private, evacuation procedures, transfer of symptomatic individuals to isolation, and quarantine of all remaining passengers and non-essential crew, and other activities per CDC guidance.)
  8. Meet standards for hand hygiene, face coverings, and social distancing. Plus any other CDC surprise requirements.
  9. Modify meal service and entertainment to meet social distancing.
  10. Lab testing day of embarkation and disembarkation. Disembarkation results must be provided before departing for final destination.
  11. Testing of anyone that comes down with illness.
  12. Voyage can be ended immediately in the event illness is detected.
  13. Document any deficiencies and create a report with volunteer test results.
  14. After CDC review the CDC may request modification and additional simulated voyages.
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