On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a temporary extension of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for cruise ships through January 15, 2022. This temporary extension includes minor modifications and applies to all commercial, non-cargo, foreign-flagged, passenger-carrying vessels currently operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters with the capacity to carry at least 250 individuals and with an itinerary anticipating an overnight stay onboard or a 24-hour stay onboard for either passengers or crew. After the expiration of this temporary extension, the CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with the cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships.

Since the issuance of the CSO on October 30, 2020, cruise lines, with CDC assistance, have developed and implemented strong health and safety protocols to manage COVID-19 and resumed passenger operations. The procedures put in place to resume passenger operations have successfully averted overwhelming onboard medical facilities and burdening shoreside hospital resources. However, CDC decided to temporarily extend the Order due to the continued spread of the Delta variant. After the expiration of this temporary extension next year, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program. This transition will continue strong measures to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID, and it will align with other travel orders including the global contract tracing and global testing orders.

While cruising will always pose some risk of disease spread, CDC remains committed to ensuring that cruising is conducted in a way that protects crew members, passengers, port personnel, and communities. CDC continues to collaborate with the cruise industry and other partners to resume cruising following the recommendations and requirements outlined in the CSO Extension.

This Order will remain in effect until the earliest of

  1. The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
  2. The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
  3. January 15, 2022.

CDC will continue to update its guidance and recommendations based on the best scientific evidence available. For more information about COVID-19 and cruise ships, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html. To view the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), go to https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/covid19-cruiseships.html.

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