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The No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to expire on September 30, and as of now, no further updates have come from the organization.
The CDC’s No-Sail Order was first issued March 13 as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic became a global concern. On April 9, the order was extended again for a period of 100 days and was set to expire July 24. On July 16, the CDC extended the order again, this time until September 30.
Unconfirmed reports by Axios indicate that the order is likely to be extended by at least another month, to October 31. That would match the date that the United States Cruise Line Industry Association set as an end to the voluntary suspension of its member lines.
According to Axios, CDC Director Robert Redfield had wanted the No-Sail Order extended through February 2021, but the White House overruled.
The site also says that a meeting between the White House and representatives from the cruise industry will take place Friday.
Under the terms of the No-Sail Order, the ban on cruises from US ports of call is in effect until one of the following occurs: The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or September 30.
Although it is likely that the CDC will once again extend its No-Sail Order, the organization hasn’t offered an official confirmation. A fall restart seemed to be hinted at by CLIA member lines last week, which announced they had delivered their Healthy Sail recommendations to the CDC and could be ready to sail in as little as 30 days.
“We have to fly crew back in, they have to go through rigorous testing, it takes about 30 days,” Carnival’s Arnold Donald said of a potential restart.
“30 days sounds great,” chimed in MSC’s Pierfrancesco Vago.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio stated that the submission of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations, spearheaded by NCLH and Royal Caribbean Group, paved the way to a healthy and responsible restart.
“We have great confidence in the comprehensive and layered approach our health and safety panel has put forward,” Del Rio said. “That’s why we’re going to have a phased approach, we’re going to test it, we’re going to make adjustments along the way … so that we can get back to what we do best.”
If the CDC’s No-Sail Order is allowed to simply expire Wednesday night, cruises could very technically resume within the United States.
However, with CLIA member lines — which includes nearly every major cruise operator in the world — are on pause though October 31, so the earliest cruises could reasonably resume in the United States would be November 1.
When cruises do resume, executives from every major brand have stated it will be done in a phased approach, likely with a handful of vessels sailing from a few key U.S. homeports. It will not be a full-scale restart of cruising by any means, and further sailing cancellations should be not only anticipated but expected.