CDC ends COVID-19 program allowing cruise lines control over policies on their ships
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has canceled its cruise ship COVID-19 program, allowing cruise lines to control the mitigation policies enacted on their own ships.
Every major cruise line took part in the CDC’s voluntary COVID-19 program, which required all passengers to be tested and outlined specific quarantine procedures in case of an outbreak on board.
With the program cancelation, the CDC will provide guidance for the cruise ship mitigation and management of COVID-19, allowing companies to implement their own mitigation policies.
Alaska Travel Industry Association President and CEO Sarah Leonard said their cruise partners in Alaska have gone to great lengths to implement COVID-19 restrictions.
“Even with concerns over rising costs and safety, travelers remain positive about and are eager to take vacations, and Alaskan cruises remain hugely popular,” Leonard said. “By lifting the COVID-19 program, the CDC is allowing the cruise industry to return to full operations, safely and reasonably managed.”
Holland America Line also operates in Alaska and said they welcome the change. They’re reviewing the new guidelines but haven’t made any immediate changes to their COVID-19 protocols.
“This change is a testament to the effectiveness of protocols we put in place following the resumption of sailing, with cruising being among the safest forms of travel today,” a spokesperson for Holland America Line said in an email.
A report from the Cruise Lines International Association found passenger numbers were down 81% in 2020, but they forecast the industry to return to pre-pandemic numbers by the end of 2023.
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