If you were hoping to take a nice and relaxing cruise to celebrate the holidays, get ready to change your plans, yet again. Many popular cruise lines are once again stalling plans to set sail, this time canceling cruises through at least December 31st of 2020.
This new wave of cancellations comes only days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for cruise ships in the wake of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe. At, first the news seemed positive for cruise lines, with the CDC announcing that it was listing its “no-sail” ban in United States waters. However, as the order was lifted, it was replaced with new and enhanced guidelines that require cruise lines to ensure that the health and safety of passengers and cruise line employees come first.
Parent companies Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have all suspended their plans to return to the sea through December 31st.
What Are These New CDC Guidelines and How Could They Impact Passengers?
At the core of the new CDC safety guidelines are enhanced measures that aim to make cruise lines safer for both employees and passengers, instead of floating petri dishes of disease. Ships sailing from U.S. ports will be required to establish onboard COVID-19 testing capabilities. These testing capabilities will mean that rapid testing of all passengers and crew members can be accomplished the day a ship sets sail and the day it returns to port to screen for infections.
It also means that symptomatic passengers, future passengers, and crew members may be tested with a quick turnaround for results to help contain any potential outbreaks. These testing measures will be coordinated with the CDC. The order also sets standards that govern proper hand hygiene and social distancing.
Passengers or crew members who test positive for COVID-19 before boarding will not be allowed on the ship. If a passenger or crew member tests positive while they are onboard the ship and out to sea, then the individual will be placed in isolation until they can be transferred to a dedicated facility onshore. Remaining passengers and all crew members who are deemed nonessential will be required to quarantine. The new CDC guidelines also mandate that cruise lines have all the essential medical equipment on board, as well as trained personal that can treat severely ill patients.
What Are Cruise Lines Doing in the Meantime?
During this new round of delays, many cruise lines have expressed that they will be busy making necessary changes to accommodate the CDC’s new guidelines. The first round of departures for most cruise lines will be without paying customers. These departures are meant to be simulations that will test their response to COVID-19 related issues and to make sure that they have accomplished the goals that the CDC has laid down.
Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.
COVID-19 has impacted several customer services and travel industries. It is understandable that many industries want to get back to what they do best, make money. Should profit come before public safety? At Louis A. Vucci P.A., we don’t think so. Both passengers and cruise line employees should feel safe and confident with their work and travel plans. When cruise lines forgo safety for profit, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm linked to COVID-19 exposure on a cruise ship, contact the legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. for help. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, call (786) 375-0344 today.