The CDC has updated a level 3 warning to avoid nonessential travel, citing cruises in particular as a known spreader of COVID-19.
The update on the CDC website doesn’t leave any room for interpretation:
Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.
It goes on to say the following:
Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruises highlight the risk of infections to cruise passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships and boats. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there remains a risk of infected passengers and crew on board cruise ships.
With the CDC’s no-sail order scheduled to end at the conclusion of this month, the updated warnings against traveling by cruise ship send mixed messages about whether or not the agency will truly lift the order in six days time. At the very least, it’s the CDC reaffirming their position that it’s too early for cruising to come back.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the suspension of the industry has cost more than 160,000 jobs and billions in lost revenue since it began in March.
Optimism for 2020 Cruises
At Seatrade Cruise Virtual earlier this month, cruise line brass expressed optimism that America would see ships sailing again by the end of the year. Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald even said he had a 4.9 out of 5 confidence level that it could be done.
Since then, nothing has gone right for an industry relegated to inactivity for the better part of this year. A call scheduled with the Whitehouse Coronavirus Task Force, including Vice President Michael Pence and CDC Director Robert Redfield, had to be postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among those at the highest levels of government.
While the call did happen a week later, news broke over this past weekend that five people close to the Vice President, including his chief of staff Marc Short, have tested positive for the virus. From a sheer optics standpoint, it looks bad when the head of an infectious disease task force is struggling to protect his own team from said disease.
While we know you want to cruise, public perception around the industry is at an all-time low and that could potentially hamstring any sort of restart for the rest of this year. Many cruise lines have already pushed their start date back well into December with others already looking ahead to 2021.
Let us know your thoughts on whether or not you’d be willing to board a cruise ship in 2020 in the comments!