NCLH opts into CDC's Conditional Sailing Order replacement

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The Norwegian Getaway.  Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the first major cruise company to publicly opt into the CDC's voluntary program to mitigate Covid risk on ships that replaced its Conditional Sailing Order which expired Jan 15.
The Norwegian Getaway. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the first major cruise company to publicly opt into the CDC's voluntary program to mitigate Covid risk on ships that replaced its Conditional Sailing Order which expired Jan 15. Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) became the first major cruise company to publicly opt into the CDC's voluntary program to mitigate Covid risk on ships that replaced its Conditional Sailing Order which expired Jan 15. 

NCLH's three brands -- Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises -- all opted into the Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters, the agency's voluntary Covid-19 risk mitigation program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in U.S. waters. 

Frank Del Rio, CEO of NCLH, said that the program "provides the cruise industry with a set of operating provisions to protect the health and safety of guests and crew. Our adoption of the voluntary program provides guests, crew, travel partners and other stakeholders with the assurance that our brands will continue to meet and exceed the provisions laid out by the CDC and provide unparalleled health and safety protocols not found in any other sector of the travel and leisure space."

A CDC spokesperson said the agency was "hopeful" the details of the program would be posted on its website later this week, after originally saying they would be posted the day before the Conditional Sailing Order expired. The spokesperson said that cruise lines will decide "in the coming week" whether or not to opt into the program, and that ships that choose to participate will agree to follow all recommendations and guidance issued by the CDC and that the agency will continue to monitor the preventive measures and cases onboard cruise ships that opt in, through daily data collection and inspections. 

Cruise ships operating in U.S. waters that do not participate in the program will be designated as "gray" on the CDC's Cruise Ship Color Status webpage, meaning the CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator's health and safety protocols. The colors, from green to gray, are related to the number of Covid cases onboard and whether they meet the threshold for a CDC investigation.

CLIA said the CDC's decision to make the program voluntary "recognizes the cruise industry's unwavering commitment to providing some of the highest levels of Covid-19 mitigation found in any industry. Cruise is the only segment of travel and tourism that requires, prior to embarkation for both passengers and crew, exceedingly high levels of vaccination (approaching 100% compared to only 63% of the U.S. population) and 100% testing of every individual (21 times the rate of the U.S. on land)."

The association said that CLIA members "will continue to be guided by the science and the principle of putting people first, with proven measures that are adapted as conditions warrant to protect the health of cruise passengers, crew members and destinations."

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