The cruise industry continues to make
progress with its efforts to resume sailing from the U.S. ports, with the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorizing additional cruise
ships to begin sailing, including one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
The COVID-19 virus, however, continues to challenge the cruise lines while they
await word on the resolution of Florida’s lawsuit that could potentially relax
the rules to restart service.
Disney had planned
a two-night cruise aboard its ship the 129,690 gross ton Disney Dream departing
today, June 29, from Port Canaveral with 300 employees as the volunteers to
test the health and safety protocols. In addition to being Disney’s first
cruise, the trip would have been the first for a cruise ship with passengers
from the central Florida port.
“The trip was
postponed until next month, pending approvals, because a small number of
employees had inconsistent results for COVID-19,” Disney said in its official
statement. Reportedly, several crew members aboard the Disney Dream tested
positive for the virus during the routine testing required by the CDC, although
none were reporting any symptoms. The cruise line repeated the tests the
following day, but under CDC rules conflicting tests are considered positive
The vessel needs to return to either green or orange status
The Disney Dream’s
status has been updated to red on the CDC’s Color Status system, meaning that
the ship cannot operate a simulated voyage at this time. The vessel needs to
return to either green or orange status, which requires negative tests for all
the crew members and restricts movement of crew on and off the ship during this
period. The Disney Dream is the second of Disney Cruise Line’s ships with the
Disney Wonder also currently coded as red, although ships can also receive a
red status for reporting issues or crew movements not following the CDC
restrictions. As of June 28, a total of 11 cruise ships are currently listed
with red status, including ships operated by MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises,
Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International.
The CDC has now approved a total of 11 cruise ships to operate
The CDC has now
approved a total of 11 cruise ships to operate simulated voyages and another
eight for revenue voyages under the rules that require 95 percent of passengers
and crew to be vaccinated. Among the ships to be approved for a simulated
voyage, Royal Caribbean International announced that its 225,282 gross ton
Oasis of the Seas, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, has been approved
for a simulated voyage from the port in Bayonne, New Jersey on August 22.
On June 29, Royal Caribbean also announced that
its Freedom of the Seas has become the first ship to successfully complete the
simulated voyage process and receive a conditional sailing certificate. The
ship operated its simulated cruise earlier in June and now will sail its first
revenue cruise on July 2 from PortMiami to the Bahamas.
All of this comes
as the cruise industry waits for a resolution in Florida’s lawsuit seeking to
overturn the CDC’s authority to restrict cruise operations from U.S. ports. In
granting a temporary restraining order, the judge gave the CDC till July 2 to
respond with a narrower set of restrictions within the court’s perception of
the agency’s authority or to appeal. Otherwise, the restraining order goes into
effect in mid-July, changing the current CDC restrictions to recommendations.
At the same time, the judge extended the deadline for the CDC’s response to the
lawsuit until July 22.
The judge’s order also still calls for a new
round of mediation seeking to settle the case