With the United States government dropping mandatory covid testing for international travelers, the cruise industry remains the only travel business that still requires testing.
The Centers for Disease Control’s decision, which takes effect June 12, allows people to travel to the United States without taking any type of covid test, which is expected to lead to increased travel.
This is good news for cruise lines, as “in 2019, more than one million guests from Canada sailed from a US homeport, 570,000 guests from Brazil sailed from a US homeport and 280,000 from Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America,” Cruisehive reported.
More passengers from around the world will be able to travel to the United States, but boarding a cruise ship will still require a covid test no more than two days before their day of departure. This rule remains in place and the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) – a trade group that represents the interests of Royal Caribbean International (RCL) – Get the Royal Caribbean group reportCarnival Cruise Line (CCA) – Get Carnival Corporation reportNorwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get the report from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.and most of the world’s major cruise lines – called on the CDC to review the rules under which cruise ships now voluntarily operate in partnership with the federal agency.
CLIA wants cruise lines to be treated like other travel
Changes to covid testing for international travel have not been made as covid has ceased to be a threat. People are still getting sick, but current levels of serious illness mean that there are plenty of hospital beds left if anyone needs them. It’s fair to call the CDC’s decision an economic decision based on the needs of the travel industry.
Hotels, theme parks and airlines want international travelers and they have a lot more influence on the CDC than cruise lines given that they are US based companies unlike the cruise ships. That’s why cruise lines remained completely closed to US ports while people packed Disney World, concerts and hotel conference centers.
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Cruise lines, however, have a significant economic impact on the US economy, and CLIA wants the cruise industry – which has not suggested it plans to scrap vaccine requirements – to be addressed. like other travel companies.
“As the CDC monitors the improving health landscape and works with airlines to support a smooth transition with the lifting of the pre-arrival testing requirement, we believe that a review of the pre-arrival testing requirements Boarding for cruise passengers is also in order,” Cruisehive reported. .
Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and even Disney (SAY) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report require all passengers aged 12 and over to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding.
Cruise lines face a higher standard
If you catch covid at Disney World, at a concert, or at your local grocery store, it’s very difficult for anyone to know exactly how they got infected. When people spend a few days or more on a cruise ship, it gives covid time to incubate, spread, and produce visible disease.
This creates an optical problem for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and other cruise lines. News footage of ships with high numbers of people infected with any virus – be it flu, covid or something else – makes stories that make cruises seem more dangerous than other forms of travel.
This may have been true in the days before the covid pandemic, but now cruise lines require proof of vaccinations, which few other places or travel destinations do. Cruise lines have also adopted even stricter cleaning policies, and handwashing has always been something Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian are pushing (usually while chanting in front of the buffet).
Having to test before boarding a cruise ship for asymptomatic people adds a layer of complexity for people taking a cruise – especially those who choose to fly a day or two before. Removing the requirement would likely result in more people cruising. It’s good for the economy and it makes just as much sense, with covid still an issue, as removing testing requirements for international travellers.
If money can be the reason testing and vaccination requirements don’t exist at hotels, airplanes, theme parks, concerts, and sporting events, then money should be a viable reason to. consider dropping the pre-cruise test requirement.