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CDC Voluntary Cruise Ship Program Ends


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4 hours ago, CruiseGus said:

A lot will depend on how all the Ports of Call now react to the news and any pressure that can be put on them by their peers to continue with their tourist economy 

these ports sure are not shutting the door on planes full of unvaccinated people flying to visit them. I think they will be fine. As long as the cruise ships just drop things slowly (1 mandate here then then next week another mandate dropped there. Just do it little by little.) won’t be a cause for panic. 

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1 hour ago, starbrat said:

these ports sure are not shutting the door on planes full of unvaccinated people flying to visit them. I think they will be fine. As long as the cruise ships just drop things slowly (1 mandate here then then next week another mandate dropped there. Just do it little by little.) won’t be a cause for panic. 

Exactly! These islands that have “vaccine mandates” have them for cruises only. You could fly into the Bahamas long ago without a vaccine. This is why people have long speculated that it really wasn’t the islands, it was the cruise industry that wanted the islands to keep it in place because they believed  the vast majority  of cruisers were pro vaccine and so therein the money lies…. I have no problem with a vaccine mandate… if the vaccine is proven to work like a vaccine is supposed to. We aren’t getting chicken pox and polio boosters every six months so that is a clear fact they those work and this one doesn’t. So reclassify it, call it a seasonal Covid shot just we have the  seasonal flu shot and treat it the same. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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15 hours ago, Moby Dick said:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/07/18/cdc-ends-covid-19-program-cruise-ships

 

BTW, I know this is brand new.  But, I just looked into Royal's FAQ and nothing has changed.  You'd think that they would be ready to go with this kind of change and just tap a computer button and there it is, their new policy/protocol that was probably written up days, weeks, months ago.  

The CDC bows out on July 30.  ****TOTALLY WRONG******  The CDC terminated the voluntary program immediately.   MY BAD!!

You can bet they are all watching each other line's next move closely. 

Edited by Toby
My first try was inaccurate!
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15 hours ago, twangster said:

I am envisioning a scene from an old Western movie where the cruise lines are standing around the O.K. Corral waiting to see who fires first.

They are nervously watching each other, waiting for a flinch.  

Once one cruise lines drops testing or vaccine requirements the others will quickly follow.  Who will flinch first?

 

giphy.gif

 

I say that Carnival will flinch first

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8 hours ago, Cruiser4Life said:

Exactly! These islands that have “vaccine mandates” have them for cruises only. You could fly into the Bahamas long ago without a vaccine. This is why people have long speculated that it really wasn’t the islands, it was the cruise industry that wanted the islands to keep it in place because they believed  the vast majority  of cruisers were pro vaccine and so therein the money lies…. I have no problem with a vaccine mandate… if the vaccine is proven to work like a vaccine is supposed to. We aren’t getting chicken pox and polio boosters every six months so that is a clear fact they those work and this one doesn’t. So reclassify it, call it a seasonal Covid shot just we have the  seasonal flu shot and treat it the same. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Actually it is the Islands that are requiring this.  While you can visit the Bahamas unvaccinated if you are flying you still must present a negative covid test taken within 72 hours of your arrival. Many of these islands are no longer requiring airlines to check and verify documentation but your documentation (vax card or test results) will be checked upon arrival in the Bahamas and the Bahamas according to their website can refuse entry to unvaccinated individuals if they believe there are issues with the documentation or if they think you have covid. Other islands in the Caribbean have similar policies in place.  

Jamaica also updated their policy on July 5, 2022, they no longer require unvaccinated individuals to present any covid test to enter Jamaica however it isn't a free for all or business as usual.  Jamaica has warned unvaccinated individuals who choose to travel to their country if you should test positive you will be required (not optional) to quarantine for 10 days at a government quarantine facility.  You may be released from quarantine to travel home but only if the medical officer at the facility signs off on your release and the destination country allows covid positive individuals to travel.

St Maarten another popular destination also allows unvaccinated individuals to fly into their country.  In addition to presenting a negative covid test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, all unvaccinated guest flying into St. Maarten must purchase (prior to arrival) covid-19 insurance it is mandatory and will be checked upon arrival in St Maarten.  In addition to having covid-19 insurance and a negative test, unvaccinated travelers will be tested (at their own expense) at the airport upon arrival and must quarantine in their hotel room until the results of that test come back.

I could go on and on about the restrictions still in place in the Caribbean for those who are unvaccinated.  The responsibility to check this documentation should have never rested on the shoulders of the airlines but just because airlines have been removed from the equation does not mean they've flung the doors open to those who are unvaccinated.

Having said that I do think the pre-cruise testing requirement will go away by the fall at the latest.  If you're expecting cruise lines to drop the vaccine requirement I've always stated I think that requirement will remain in place through the end of this year. 

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16 hours ago, twangster said:

I am envisioning a scene from an old Western movie where the cruise lines are standing around the O.K. Corral waiting to see who fires first.

They are nervously watching each other, waiting for a flinch.  

Once one cruise lines drops testing or vaccine requirements the others will quickly follow.  Who will flinch first?

 

giphy.gif

 

My bet would be Carnival 

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15 hours ago, twangster said:

Bahamas is a good start.  If Bahamas can go without testing it opens the door for all short 3/4 cruises to drop testing and/or vaccines.  

I agree the ports will have a big influence on any changes to the health protocols.

I also think the cruise medical staff will urge the continuation of vaccinated passengers.  As stated many times before the vaccine was developed to mitigate the severity of the disease effects, not stop the spread.  Cruise ships do not have the facilities to treat the severely ill.  I can imagine the complaints, "We had to skip a port because they needed to airlift a sick passenger off the ship!"  We want our money back!!!!!"

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1 hour ago, JasonOasis said:

Actually it is the Islands that are requiring this.  While you can visit the Bahamas unvaccinated if you are flying you still must present a negative covid test taken within 72 hours of your arrival. Many of these islands are no longer requiring airlines to check and verify documentation but your documentation (vax card or test results) will be checked upon arrival in the Bahamas and the Bahamas according to their website can refuse entry to unvaccinated individuals if they believe there are issues with the documentation or if they think you have covid. Other islands in the Caribbean have similar policies in place.  

Jamaica also updated their policy on July 5, 2022, they no longer require unvaccinated individuals to present any covid test to enter Jamaica however it isn't a free for all or business as usual.  Jamaica has warned unvaccinated individuals who choose to travel to their country if you should test positive you will be required (not optional) to quarantine for 10 days at a government quarantine facility.  You may be released from quarantine to travel home but only if the medical officer at the facility signs off on your release and the destination country allows covid positive individuals to travel.

St Maarten another popular destination also allows unvaccinated individuals to fly into their country.  In addition to presenting a negative covid test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, all unvaccinated guest flying into St. Maarten must purchase (prior to arrival) covid-19 insurance it is mandatory and will be checked upon arrival in St Maarten.  In addition to having covid-19 insurance and a negative test, unvaccinated travelers will be tested (at their own expense) at the airport upon arrival and must quarantine in their hotel room until the results of that test come back.

I could go on and on about the restrictions still in place in the Caribbean for those who are unvaccinated.  The responsibility to check this documentation should have never rested on the shoulders of the airlines but just because airlines have been removed from the equation does not mean they've flung the doors open to those who are unvaccinated.

Having said that I do think the pre-cruise testing requirement will go away by the fall at the latest.  If you're expecting cruise lines to drop the vaccine requirement I've always stated I think that requirement will remain in place through the end of this year. 

I read an article, don't remember if it was in the actual CDC website or written by a CDC official.  But, as far as MOST Caribbean Countries are concerned, that countries don't have a CDC type department that is capable of it's own research and public safety decisions.  So, the mirror what the U.S. CDC does/says/declares.  So, I wouldn't think it is going to be long before the majority of the smaller Caribbean countries start changing their protocols to mirror ours. Especially if enough of the Cruise Lines threaten them with going elsewhere if they don't change.  Many Caribbean Countries, their economy is totally dependent on tourism of which cruses are a major part of.   So, stay tuned and watch as the dominos start to fall.

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11 minutes ago, Moby Dick said:

I read an article, don't remember if it was in the actual CDC website or written by a CDC official.  But, as far as MOST Caribbean Countries are concerned, that countries don't have a CDC type department that is capable of it's own research and public safety decisions.  So, the mirror what the U.S. CDC does/says/declares.  So, I wouldn't think it is going to be long before the majority of the smaller Caribbean countries start changing their protocols to mirror ours. Especially if enough of the Cruise Lines threaten them with going elsewhere if they don't change.  Many Caribbean Countries, their economy is totally dependent on tourism of which cruses are a major part of.   So, stay tuned and watch as the dominos start to fall.

From your fingers to RCLs ears.

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In May Royal Caribbean extended their current protocols through September 30, 2022.  See https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/05/20/royal-caribbean-extends-north-america-and-european-cruise-protocols

 

Given demand for cruising is very high, I am not sure what motivation RC has to make a change immediately.  I know there are people who will not sail if they have to test, be vaccinated, or both but it doesn't seem that the numbers in that camp are large enough effect bookings.

Hypothetically, Carnival drops all health protocols, how many "Loyal to Royal" cruisers are going defect to Carnival?

 

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25 minutes ago, Toby said:

Hypothetically, Carnival drops all health protocols, how many "Loyal to Royal" cruisers are going defect to Carnival?

I don't really count as "Loyal to Royal" anymore but I would probably jump in a heartbeat since I have a decent pool of people that want to cruise but cant ... the group on Carnival wins over "Loyal to Royal" without a doubt.

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10 minutes ago, Toby said:

In May Royal Caribbean extended their current protocols through September 30, 2022.  See https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/05/20/royal-caribbean-extends-north-america-and-european-cruise-protocols

 

Given demand for cruising is very high, I am not sure what motivation RC has to make a change immediately.  I know there are people who will not sail if they have to test, be vaccinated, or both but it doesn't seem that the numbers in that camp are large enough effect bookings.

Hypothetically, Carnival drops all health protocols, how many "Loyal to Royal" cruisers are going defect to Carnival?

 

I  do see what you are saying, but there are countless reasons to drop straight away.  Keep in mind the long game of customer retention.  Nearly every repeat customer industry pays critical attention and assigns a $ value to a consumer.  We are people who will flip to another opportunity if the value is better or even marginal if we feel slighted, devalued,  or pissed off by something we spend a great deal of money on.  When the voice of our $ is what is heard, we will take it somewhere else.  The big consequence to RCCL is we may even find that somewhere else....is better...and people talk.  Bookings may be strong with tremendous pent up demand, get out at all cost mindsets, money to burn, and FCCs to expend, but that will run out and the long game will weigh heavy.

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4 hours ago, Toby said:

In May Royal Caribbean extended their current protocols through September 30, 2022.  See https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/05/20/royal-caribbean-extends-north-america-and-european-cruise-protocols

 

Given demand for cruising is very high, I am not sure what motivation RC has to make a change immediately.  I know there are people who will not sail if they have to test, be vaccinated, or both but it doesn't seem that the numbers in that camp are large enough effect bookings.

Hypothetically, Carnival drops all health protocols, how many "Loyal to Royal" cruisers are going defect to Carnival?

 

I would choose a cruise line that required passengers to be up-to-date but eliminated proctored testing as a requirement.  Instead, I believe they should direct self-testing and completion of a health survey.  If someone has gone to the effort to stay up-to-date, he/she should be trusted to self-report illness. I believe cruise lines should encourage masking in elevators and congested indoor activities.   I just don't see our health protocols on the ship ever being more than 80-90% effective -- too many folks are catching Covid on/near cruise vacations.

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26 minutes ago, Toby said:

In May Royal Caribbean extended their current protocols through September 30, 2022.  See https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/05/20/royal-caribbean-extends-north-america-and-european-cruise-protocols

 

Given demand for cruising is very high, I am not sure what motivation RC has to make a change immediately.  I know there are people who will not sail if they have to test, be vaccinated, or both but it doesn't seem that the numbers in that camp are large enough effect bookings.

Hypothetically, Carnival drops all health protocols, how many "Loyal to Royal" cruisers are going defect to Carnival?

 

I don't think it will matter as far as protocols they have in place already. They've done this before, right? Released protocols and then changed them before hand? I don't think anything keeps them to the September time frame, like it's not a legally binding thing. If people don't want to cruise with the new changes then they'll offer refunds, just like the people who booked under one protocol (no vaccine mandate, etc) and then the protocols changed and they refunded us. 

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9 minutes ago, ChessE4 said:

I would choose a cruise line that required passengers to be up-to-date but eliminated proctored testing as a requirement.  Instead, I believe they should direct self-testing and completion of a health survey.  If someone has gone to the effort to stay up-to-date, he/she should be trusted to self-report illness. I believe cruise lines should encourage masking in elevators and congested indoor activities.   I just don't see our health protocols on the ship ever being more than 80-90% effective -- to many folks are catching Covid on/near cruise vacations.

I think most of the "vaccinated" in the US aren't up to date. I know there is information out there on booster uptake, but it was like half of the initial group, then the 2nd booster was half of that, etc. So a huge portion of the people the cruise lines consider vaccinate right now are actually not vaccinated.  I think they should just go back to a health declaration. And they need to stop testing altogether. No tests means no outbreaks. Perfect. 🙂

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11 minutes ago, ChessE4 said:

I would choose a cruise line that required passengers to be up-to-date but eliminated proctored testing as a requirement.  Instead, I believe they should direct self-testing and completion of a health survey.  If someone has gone to the effort to stay up-to-date, he/she should be trusted to self-report illness. I believe cruise lines should encourage masking in elevators and congested indoor activities.   I just don't see our health protocols on the ship ever being more than 80-90% effective -- to many folks are catching Covid on/near cruise vacations.

The problem with "up to date" is that it means different things for different people based on age. That's a huge burden to put on the check-in staff.

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9 minutes ago, ChessE4 said:

I would choose a cruise line that required passengers to be up-to-date but eliminated proctored testing as a requirement.  Instead, I believe they should direct self-testing and completion of a health survey.  If someone has gone to the effort to stay up-to-date, he/she should be trusted to self-report illness. I believe cruise lines should encourage masking in elevators and congested indoor activities.   I just don't see our health protocols on the ship ever being more than 80-90% effective -- to many folks are catching Covid on/near cruise vacations.

You have more faith in people self reporting than I do.

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12 minutes ago, jticarruthers said:

I don't really count as "Loyal to Royal" anymore but I would probably jump in a heartbeat since I have a decent pool of people that want to cruise but cant ... the group on Carnival wins over "Loyal to Royal" without a doubt.

I have always been Loyal to Royal, but I'm going with the first line to drop the vaccine and testing mandates, no second thoughts. I'll come back to Royal when they do, but I'd rather cruise on any line that just lets me cruise without the stress. That said I do think they all end at the same time, all the lines.

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11 minutes ago, Bowen said:

I don't think it will matter as far as protocols they have in place already. They've done this before, right? Released protocols and then changed them before hand? I don't think anything keeps them to the September time frame, like it's not a legally binding thing. If people don't want to cruise with the new changes then they'll offer refunds, just like the people who booked under one protocol (no vaccine mandate, etc) and then the protocols changed and they refunded us. 

I agree but my experience with corporate decision making has me believing it will take at least 4 or 5 (2) hour meetings to get any consensus.  Then another 3 or 4 to pick the date to implement the changes.  All the while they remember they announced their intentions through Sept. so "We've' got time!"

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We have been strongly considering a land vacation instead of a cruise.  We have been waiting for the vax requirement to stop.  We would be losing out on the extra 25% FCC if we did rebook.  

With this news about the CDC stepping back we are going to hold out longer.  I am hoping by the end of the year they drop the vax requirement. 

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16 minutes ago, Toby said:

I agree but my experience with corporate decision making has me believing it will take at least 4 or 5 (2) hour meetings to get any consensus.  Then another 3 or 4 to pick the date to implement the changes.  All the while they remember they announced their intentions through Sept. so "We've' got time!"

You're right! And then if another cruise does it differently they have to go back in and reevaluate, lol.

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After 9/11, TSA and the governments initiated many, many protocols for safer travel.  Two (2) decades later, many of those protocols are still in place.  This is one example of how the system and society learned to evolve and learn from a horrendous disaster.

The Princess ship that was in Tokyo in February of 2020 set the tone for several scientific, medical, and logistical studies.  Seven people died and at least 30 people had severe outcomes from the coronavirus.  

Eliminating all current protocols, even with two and a half years of hindsight and experience, even with vaccines and masks, is somewhat unlikely.  Eliminating most protocols is also unwise in my opinion.

Again, its no longer the dying part of Covid I am personally concerned with.  Its the continuing quarantine procedures in place.  My family household income is very good.  Yet, we cannot afford to go on a 2 week vacation only to come home and quarantine another week and a half.  Otherwise, we are looking at burning all of our vacation time for one cruise.  

Economically speaking, if the monetary bottom line and continued profit is the priority, so too should be the cruisers' health.  We are planning our next cruise right now.  Had we had to quarantine and lose out on almost 2 weeks of salaries and additional vacation time, we would not be booking another cruise this year.  So if repeat customers are a basis for things, health and safety should go hand in hand with profit.  

Those persons who have abundant resources and time are outliers.  I respect those opinions, but we cannot easily cruise multiple times a year if it means having to take time off after each vacation.

I don't know what protocols I would suggest eliminating, and I am in favor of change, but not to the extent that we forget the great losses from the last 2.5 years.

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22 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

After 9/11, TSA and the governments initiated many, many protocols for safer travel.  Two (2) decades later, many of those protocols are still in place.  This is one example of how the system and society learned to evolve and learn from a horrendous disaster.

The Princess ship that was in Tokyo in February of 2020 set the tone for several scientific, medical, and logistical studies.  Seven people died and at least 30 people had severe outcomes from the coronavirus.  

Eliminating all current protocols, even with two and a half years of hindsight and experience, even with vaccines and masks, is somewhat unlikely.  Eliminating most protocols is also unwise in my opinion.

Again, its no longer the dying part of Covid I am personally concerned with.  Its the continuing quarantine procedures in place.  My family household income is very good.  Yet, we cannot afford to go on a 2 week vacation only to come home and quarantine another week and a half.  Otherwise, we are looking at burning all of our vacation time for one cruise.  

Economically speaking, if the monetary bottom line and continued profit is the priority, so too should be the cruisers' health.  We are planning our next cruise right now.  Had we had to quarantine and lose out on almost 2 weeks of salaries and additional vacation time, we would not be booking another cruise this year.  So if repeat customers are a basis for things, health and safety should go hand in hand with profit.  

Those persons who have abundant resources and time are outliers.  I respect those opinions, but we cannot easily cruise multiple times a year if it means having to take time off after each vacation.

I don't know what protocols I would suggest eliminating, and I am in favor of change, but not to the extent that we forget the great losses from the last 2.5 years.

If protocols work(ed) so well, why don't the work so well?

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36 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

After 9/11, TSA and the governments initiated many, many protocols for safer travel.  Two (2) decades later, many of those protocols are still in place.  This is one example of how the system and society learned to evolve and learn from a horrendous disaster.

But we have evolved though. We have several options now to avoid a lot of the protocols, like TSA Precheck. They are now testing a new scanning technology to be able to get rid of the 3 ounce rule, too.

 

Though I'd be all for a Royal Caribbean pre-check type plan.

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34 minutes ago, Moby Dick said:

If protocols work(ed) so well, why don't the work so well?

How do you know they aren't working well?  I do not know.  But I will tell you that the number of Covid positives after a cruise could be much higher if pre-cruise testing was not in place.  One/few person(s) infected the globe.  At least that is what the media, scientists, doctors, and politicians are saying.  This is not meant to be a political debate of any sorts.

Imagine a simple flu scenario.  The fewer known flu virus carriers to begin a cruise would lead to fewer people having the flu from the start.  That is the theory. 😁

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26 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

But we have evolved though. We have several options now to avoid a lot of the protocols, like TSA Precheck. They are now testing a new scanning technology to be able to get rid of the 3 ounce rule, too.

 

Though I'd be all for a Royal Caribbean pre-check type plan.

Yep.  That is my point.  We should evolve the covid protocols, not eliminate them.  

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