What are people telling the CDC about cruise? We took a look.

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In comments to the CDC on the resumption of cruising, one person said that wearing a mask during a cruise would "defeat the purpose" of the vacation.
In comments to the CDC on the resumption of cruising, one person said that wearing a mask during a cruise would "defeat the purpose" of the vacation. Photo Credit: Artem Pachkovskyi/Shutterstock

One month after the CDC put out a request for public input on the resumption of cruising, nearly 2,700 people have submitted opinions and suggestions to the online system.

The CDC said the input may be used to inform guidance and measures related to the resumption of cruise travel. CLIA has been urging travel advisors to submit comments.

Looking at a random sampling of the posts, many are from cruise fans eager to begin sailing again, and quite a few tell the CDC that it is unfairly targeting cruise lines.

"I feel like the cruise lines were taking more health precautions before the virus than most airlines and resorts are taking after the virus," said one comment. "It is very unfair for people to be allowed on a crowded plane or in a resort or restaurant but not on a cruise."

"I would like to encourage the CDC and CLIA to listen to those of us wanting to resume sailing," another wrote. "We understand the risks and respect this process, but if you would pay attention to any of the social media cruise pages you would see overwhelming support to sail again."

On the other hand, there are also those who think cruise lines should not sail again until there is a vaccine: "Minimum requirement for resumption of cruises: proof of coronavirus vaccination for all crew and passengers."

A Royal Caribbean ship.
A Royal Caribbean ship.

CLIA in July expressed confidence that it was close to starting meaningful dialogue with the agency about resuming sailings.

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Many said Covid testing should be required to board cruise ships, while other say that until testing is more reliable it won't matter.

"Ships need an accurate and quick (10-minute goal) test for the virus to be used at embarkation," a comment said. "When a vaccine is available, being vaccinated must be a requirement to sail on a cruise ship. A vaccine must be a requirement for crew working on a cruise ship."

While many argue that masks and social distancing are necessary onboard, others say they will not cruise if masks are mandated.  

"Nobody wants to walk around wearing a mask or attending a show wearing a mask or simply sitting in a bar wearing a mask," said one. "This defeats the purpose of a cruise vacation."

Capacity is also a theme. "Until the effects of the spreading of the virus can be measured aboard cruise ships, to determine if new procedures are successful, there should be a 50% passenger capacity on all sailings," wrote one.

Commenters weighed in on the risk of shore excursions, with several saying they need to be controlled. "There should  be absolutely no uncontrolled shore excursions or disembarkation at ports," said one comment. 

"Operators should limit or stop those types of excursions that will require close contact or crowded areas (e.g, bar tours) and increase excursions that allow for greater distancing and regular sanitation practices," said another.

Many respondents said the cruise lines must have policies in place to offer full refunds to customers who are concerned about travel for health reasons.

"This policy would greatly discourage persons who have symptoms from going onboard," one person wrote.

Similar policies should be granted to the crew, said another. "If a crew member should get sick during a trip and knows that his/her salary won't be impacted (including whatever tips there are) he/she will be more willing to report an illness," the person wrote. 

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