Cruise lines should ban passengers from free travel in port cities, offers cruise lineup
Don’t expect to be cruising and roaming anytime soon.
As cruise lines prepare to return to the waters, the industry is considering a variety of security measures and adjustments to keep passengers safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But these changes will not only affect the behavior of passengers on the boat, they could also affect what they are allowed to do on the boat.
A number of proposals have been provided to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in hopes of convincing the agency to refrain from extending the current navigation ban order, the Sun Sentinel reported. The order, which had already been extended earlier this year, currently expires on September 30, although major cruise lines have pledged to return to the waters only after October 31 at the earliest.
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One of the proposals sent to the CDC would prevent passengers from moving freely in towns near the ports, and only guests who book an actual excursion would be allowed to get off the ship.
The proposal was developed by the Healthy Sails Panel, a group of experts brought together by the Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Such a decision would limit contact between passengers and crew with local populations, they say, and therefore prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.
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“Prior to COVID-19, cruise lines allowed both fully organized and self-guided tours and independent exploration to destinations of interest,” their proposal reads, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “However, the risk of exposure to people in the communities visited, as well as to passengers and crew of cruise ships, increases as these groups mix. Therefore, the panel recommends that cruise lines initially ban self-guided tours and independent exploration and only allow certain indoor activities organized until further notice. ”
In addition to the Healthy Sails Panel, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently announced mandatory protocols for its dozens of member lines (including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney), and the CLIA has included similar guidelines for day trips to Earth. Specifically, the CLIA said that before cruising can resume in the Americas, member companies should agree to only allow shore excursions under a predetermined protocol and refuse any passengers who do not comply. The exact protocol of the excursions, meanwhile, had to be created by each member line.
The CDC has yet to comment on these specific proposals.