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CDC Says Cruise Ship Conditional Sail Order Will Become Voluntary on Jan 15, Despite Omicron


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  • ChrisK2793 changed the title to CDC Says Cruise Ship Conditional Sail Order Will Become Voluntary on Jan 15, Despite Omicron
13 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

A rare wise move by the CDC.

 

I think this may make the Florida lawsuit moot, so the underlying legal question will not be answered based on this situation.  I think that is a good thing, because I did not want the courts looking at this important issue based on a question regarding a recreational activity.  Better to wait for a subject with a lot more meat on it.

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4 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

I think this may make the Florida lawsuit moot, so the underlying legal question will not be answered based on this situation.  I think that is a good thing, because I did not want the courts looking at this important issue based on a question regarding a recreational activity.  Better to wait for a subject with a lot more meat on it.

I'm sure there's a lot of back door handshakes that make both sides come out looking good.

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Unfortunately, this means nothing as the cruise lines (Royal, at any rate) has already said that they will comply with the CSO even if becomes voluntary.  The CDC made it very clear that there would be OTHER ways that they [CDC] would make life difficult for the cruise lines if they don't.  I don't see anything changing soon....voluntary or mandatory. 

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7 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

I'm sure there's a lot of back door handshakes that make both sides come out looking good.

I think that they have already succeeded at getting the spotlight off of the case, and it will be quietly dismissed at some point after the 15th, or at least there will be a motion to dismiss.  For me, the question is whether and how vigorously Florida will fight it.  The TRO will become totally moot, so the question may no longer be properly before the Court.

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10 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Unfortunately, this means nothing as the cruise lines (Royal, at any rate) has already said that they will comply with the CSO even if becomes voluntary.  The CDC made it very clear that there would be OTHER ways that they [CDC] would make life difficult for the cruise lines if they don't.  I don't see anything changing soon....voluntary or mandatory. 

I think to do anything else at this point would be a suicidal move by any cruise company.  And I base that only on the public's perceptions based on reporting from all news sources.  This might be one of the only stories where there was no difference on how it was (mis)reported by FOX and CNN and maybe even MSNBC and NEWSMAX.

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Yes, unfortunately and especially with the CSO expiring, the media are going to be very closely watching what happens.  To modify anything at this point, at least until the Omicron wave dies down (hopefully in less than 2 months as they are predicting), would be sure to be the top headline at any news organization.  Warranted or not, the media sways public opinion way too easily as they control the full narrative.

 

Royal is not going to budge one bit.  Albeit not the strictest of the the cruise lines (DCL seems to be holding that title), they follow the orders they are given to a T.

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https://www.asta.org/About/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=31372

 

Alexandria, VA, January 5, 2022 – Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), issues the following statement in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidance on COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel, recommending that cruise travel be avoided regardless of vaccination status:

“An increase in reported COVID cases on cruise ships should surprise no one given the worldwide spike driven by the highly-transmissible omicron variant. The difference between enjoying a cruise vacation and visiting your local grocery store or restaurant, however, is the extraordinarily stringent anti-COVID measures put in place voluntarily by the cruise lines, in close consultation with the CDC. These measures include testing, vaccination, sanitation, mask-wearing and other science-backed measures, as well as protocols to respond to potential cases of COVID-19.

“If the average cruise ship were a U.S. state, it would be the safest in the country – by far. According to Royal Caribbean Group, since cruising restarted in the U.S. in June 2021, its ships have carried 1.1 million guests with 1,745 people testing positive – a positivity rate of 0.02 percent. Among U.S. states as of January 4, Alaska’s positivity rate is the lowest at 9.4 percent, with Georgia’s the highest at 38.7 percent.

“Cruising is no more responsible for the spread of the Omicron variant than travelers from southern Africa were at the outset of the current crisis. But we continue to see knee-jerk reactions singling out travel for discriminatory treatment. Because the travel industry is regulated more heavily than other activities, when COVID caseloads rise or new variants emerge, travel takes the hit. It brings to mind the old saying, ‘if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ This pattern needs to stop.

“The Administration has shown flexibility on its anti-COVID measures of late, including the recent decision to lift the November 26 travel ban on eight countries in Southern Africa. We call on it to do the same here. At this stage in the pandemic, the tools exist to allow us to combat this virus without crippling an entire sector of the U.S. economy in the process. Let’s use them.”

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I want to exemplify how the media harps on the minor details and runs with it, while ignoring the real story.

Here is everything the CDC Director said after being asked by Senator Murkowski about the CSO

Quote

Yeah, thank you, Senator. And I think the Conditional Sailing Order and the fact that the industry has stepped up and is now interested in doing and exceeding, as you know, the the compliance with the sail order without the order even necessarily needing to be in place, as is a real testimony to how well that has worked and how we've worked collaboratively with the industry. What I can say is that, you know, just over the last two weeks with Omicron, we've seen a 30 fold increase in cases on ships during this season because of Omicron. So while I anticipate that with ships following conditional sail order, we still will continue to follow do the oversight and watch and do all the technical assistance and support in every single way. We anticipate that this order will not be renewed and that the cruise ship industries will continue to understand that this is a really safe practice for those industries. What I can't predict is what the summer will bring.

So what does CNBC write about? The one sentence in the middle of all the praise for the cruise industry: CDC director says Covid cases on cruise ships surged 30-fold in two weeks

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2 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

And most of that 30 fold is crew that are now forced to quarantine, many with no symptoms, for 10 days since the CDC lumps cruise ships in with nursing homes.

And it's a misleading stat. There were so few cases on ships pre-Omicron, so the number sounds worse than it it is.

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So what's the punishment for not opting into a "voluntary" agreement?

There's no technical benefit to opting into the voluntary CSO, even if you still follow the CSO. But if you don't, will the CDC hold it against you?

And gee, thanks, moving the case threshold from 1 in 1000 to 3 in 1000.  Sorry, that's an absolute joke.

Some good things though. Self-service food stations are allowed again. Granted we know they'll keep many as manned stations, but hopefully I don't have to ask someone to pick up a piece of pre-plated cake or a banana for me.

Changes to quarantine cabin rules. I wonder if they'll let people quarantine in their booked cabins now.

I just hope they relax Adventure Ocean rules and let it be fun again.

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One of the changes made,

“Testing requirements will continue, and ships with at least 95% of fully vaccinated crew and passengers may continue to reduce or eliminate certain public health measures onboard, such as mask use and physical distancing.”

 

Then below that under Masks, 

“The CDC will still require cruise ships to wear masks onboard ships, regardless of if the lines opt-into the voluntary program or not.”
 

So what is it, have to wear masks or can the cruise line reduce or eliminate masks?

 

 

 

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CSO had a conditional term that allowed an exemption for masks if certain requirements were met. At 95+% vaccination rate masks wouldn't be required anywhere. With lower vaccination rates special designed vaccinated only areas could be defined where mask use wasn't required.

Where the second part comes in to play is the CDC has an order requiring the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

What I'm guessing is the CDC still trying to force the new program on the basis of having a mask exemption policy. Somewhat the same stunt the CDC tried to pull when the their appeal to was turned over.

At least that is what I'm thinking it means.

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6 hours ago, Matt said:

And it's a misleading stat. There were so few cases on ships pre-Omicron, so the number sounds worse than it it is.

It‘a super misleading to report it like that.  Statistics professionals cringe with how pathetic that looks.

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22 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

Changes to quarantine cabin rules. I wonder if they'll let people quarantine in their booked cabins now.

My understanding of the rules states that the quarantine rooms don't have to be negative pressure anymore, but the cabins still have to be on a separate HVAC system, so you would not be able to stay in your booked cabin.

 

22 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

And gee, thanks, moving the case threshold from 1 in 1000 to 3 in 1000.  Sorry, that's an absolute joke.

100% agree with this.  It's not even the beginning of generous, considering community spread numbers are at 5% or lower for "having a handle".  Also, there are not many mitigation efforts at this point that can stop omicron, so chances of hitting 3 in a 1000 is super duper easy.

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29 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Are there any indications on if any cruise lines are going to opt into the new CSO, even if "voluntarily?"

Royal said months ago that they were going to abide by the CSO even if it was made voluntary.  No reason to think they have changed their minds.

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5 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Royal said months ago that they were going to abide by the CSO even if it was made voluntary.  No reason to think they have changed their minds.

Right, I'm not expecting any cruise lines to drastically change things next week. But will any cruise line formally opt into the new CSO?

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15 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Right, I'm not expecting any cruise lines to drastically change things next week. But will any cruise line formally opt into the new CSO?

I expect them all to opt in....but nothing official has been announced that I know of.

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I would expect all the cruise lines to opt in strictly for legal protection.  A lawyer sued RC after his client negligently dropped a baby out of a window. Ironically,  without having the CDC as a defense mechanism, unethical lawyers would come up with all kinds of bogus claims.

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47 minutes ago, BB1 said:

I would expect all the cruise lines to opt in strictly for legal protection.  A lawyer sued RC after his client negligently dropped a baby out of a window. Ironically,  without having the CDC as a defense mechanism, unethical lawyers would come up with all kinds of bogus claims.

A CSO wouldn't stop lawyers from lawyering. Especially in Florida where the CSO hasn't applied.

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55 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

A CSO wouldn't stop lawyers from lawyering. Especially in Florida where the CSO hasn't applied.

Maybe not but I still think that following the CDC guidelines gives them a much stronger defense. 

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On 1/15/2022 at 4:23 PM, BB1 said:

Maybe not but I still think that following the CDC guidelines gives them a much stronger defense. 

Umm.... why not just have everyone sign a waiver that they won't sue if they contract covid. Anyone that would get on a cruise ship and think they won't get covid should not be cruising... you can't sue vaccine manufacturers - even if it kills you! ..... did anyone ever sue if they got any of the other flu variants ?

I saw the news pop up on my phone and thought I'd make a reservation for Alaska in 2023. Then read this and just saved about $10K. Will continue to hang out in the Poconos on my own cruise ship - 20' Bentley Pontoon!

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On 1/16/2022 at 7:40 PM, cruisellama said:

Well, if RCCL requires this we will be canceling and ending cruising as long as the rule is in place.  Ending up in the hospital to go on a cruise is not happening.  (I had a nasty allergic reaction to the vaccines first sets of doses but went through it to cruise, I won't be doing that again.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

With all of the resources available to the cruise lines and the fact that they ALL seem to be doing very similar things, why not consider the possibly that they are not the ones who are wrong or crazy?  And while we are at it, why is the press at fault for not looking at all of the data when so many people are making decisions about vaccines, masks, etc. based on a few random internet posts?  Just a thought.

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