Clockwise from top left: Michelle Fee of Cruise Planners, managing editor Rebecca Tobin, Norwegian Cruise Line's Katina Athanasiou, news editor Johanna Jainchill and Silversea Cruises' Mark Conroy, on the Folo by Travel Weekly podcast.
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The last time the Folo did a cruise-focused episode, the industry was in a major holding pattern with the CDC, which has, since the pandemic began, banned big-ship cruising in the U.S. In October the agency issued a Conditional Sailing Order that put in place a plethora of requirements to operate, but it never gave cruise lines a green light to comply and move towards a restart, even as vaccines rolled out and hotels, flights and theme parks opened up around the country. In response, frustration from travel advisors, politicians and cruise executives reached fever pitch in the form of protests and lawsuits.
But the day before this podcast was recorded, cruise fans got welcome news: The CDC was doing away with requirements for test cruises, as long as 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated, and it committed to a July restart for cruising in the U.S.
To talk about how vaccines are fueling the return, the in-the-meantime restart of ship operations abroad and the overall perseverance of those in the business, our acting cruise editor Johanna Jainchill has brought on three powerhouse guests: Michelle Fee of travel agency Cruise Planners, Katina Athanasiou of Norwegian Cruise Line and Mark Conroy of Silversea Cruises.
This episode was recorded on Friday, April 30, and has been edited for length and clarity.
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