Clia ocean cruise members commit to ‘100% pre-embarkation testing’

Ocean cruise line members of Clia have agreed to conduct Covid-19 testing of every passenger and crew member prior to embarkation in what the association described as a “travel industry first”.
Under the agreement, all lines operating vessels with a capacity of more than 250 will carry out testing with a requirement for a negative test before embarkation.
Clia said the commitment was a core element of the resumption of cruising globally.
A statement said: “Clia ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100% testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons – with a negative test required for any embarkation.
“This is a travel industry first and an example of the cruise industry leading the way.  We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of the passengers, the crew, and the communities we visit our top priority.”
Last week, the UK Chamber of Shipping and Clia published a framework for the resumption of cruising when Foreign Office advice against ocean journeys is lifted.

US ‘no sail’ order for cruises extended until October 31

A ‘no sail’ order imposed on US cruise lines due to Covid-19 has been extended by a month until October 31.
Reports had suggested that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wanted the order to be extended until February 15, 2021.
However, the new edict in a 29-page document from the CDC came as cruise industry body Clia in the US volunteered to continue to suspension of sailings until the end of October.
The CDC had previously extended the order first made in March, to April, July and September “to protect public health”.
A Clia US spokesperson said: “We look forward to engaging in a thoughtful and productive dialogue with our partners and regulators in the United States to return to cruising in the region.”
The latest move follows cruise lines putting forward series of health and safety protocols as part of lobbying efforts to allow a return of operations. These include crew and passenger testing, the wearing of masks, enhanced cruise ship ventilation, stringent response procedures and shore excursion protocols to make it safe to sail during the pandemic.
Efforts are also being made in the UK to persuade the government to lift its ban on cruising from British ports at a time when limited sailings have resumed in the Mediterranean by companies such as MSC Cruises, Costa and Tui Cruises.
Clia president and chief executive Kelly Craighead said: “Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the US before the end of this year.”
The extension of the US cruise ban came as the CDC revealed 3,689 confirmed cases of the virus on cruise ships and 41 deaths between March 1 and September 28.
The data also showed a total of 102 outbreaks on 124 ships, meaning more than 82% of ships within US jurisdiction were affected by Covid-19 during this time.
Four vessels still have “ongoing or resolving” Covid-19 outbreaks on board.
“Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas continue to demonstrate that reduced capacity alone has not diminished transmission,” the CDC said.
This highlighted the need for “further action prior to cruise ships safely resuming passenger operations in the United States”.
CDC said it supported a decision by Clia and its members to voluntarily extend the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel through to October 31.
“CDC further supports the decisions of numerous cruise ship operators that have voluntarily cancelled scheduled voyages involving US ports beyond the date specified by Clia, including Cunard, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruise Lines, Viking Ocean Cruises and Windstar Cruises.
“However, because not all cruise ship operators subject to the no sail order are members of Clia or have made similar commitments, CDC is extending its no sail order to continue to protect the public’s health by ensuring that passenger operations do not resume prematurely.”

VIDEO: MSC Cruises showcases health and safety protocols

MSC Cruises has produced a video to showcase new health and safety protocols introduced for its return to cruising.
The video was recorded on MSC Grandiosa, which is currently operating seven-night cruises with embarkations in the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo, plus a calling at Valletta, Malta.
Due to Foreign Office advice against ocean cruising, British and Irish passengers are currently unable to join the sailings. However, the line said it was working closely with Clia to ensure protocols would be aligned when the guidance is lifted.

The planned return of MSC Magnifica has been delayed, with the ship now due to return to service from the October 19, operating 10-night cruises from Genoa and calling in Livorno for Florence and Pisa, Messina in Sicily, Valletta in Malta, Piraeus for Athens, Katakolon for Olympia in Greece and Civitavecchia for Rome.