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Cruise tourism rebound. CDC removes cruise line rules

Local tourism officials have reported the arrival of “record-breaking” cruise visitors to the Bahamas, but the numbers are generally only a slight increase when compared to pre-pandemic arrivals. Still, Kenneth Rommer, Deputy Director of Tourism, said cruise tourism experienced a rebound.

“We are not only experiencing a record amount of vessels calling at Nassau Harbor, but also returning to the number of pre-pandemic visitor arrivals. In addition, we have recently had the most inauguration ceremonies. Our local entrepreneurs and interested parties, especially downtown, have expressed great joy in their rebound and recovery efforts. We are all very optimistic about the future of cruise tourism. It is a target.

“The cruise industry association continues to be confident in its partnership with the Bahamas and looks forward to us as a regional leader in tourism,” Rommer said. Nassau Guardian..

Numbers

A year-on-year comparison of cruise arrivals from 2021 to 2022 shows a clear contrast. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has banned cruises from US ports from March 2020 to July 2021. The ban effectively eliminated cruise passengers to the Bahamas during the period.

The arrival in March 2021 was 35, while the arrival in March 2022 was 464,690. Returning to March 2020, when the ban was enforced, 214,035 cruise passengers visited.

The number of cruise passengers in May 2021 was 429, while the number of passengers in May 2022 was 361,837. In May 2020, a pandemic had just occurred and no cruise passengers were recorded. The number of visitors in May 2019 was 413,944.

CDC obligations have been withdrawn

Meanwhile, the CDC has canceled the COVID-19 program for cruise ships. This move means that the CDC no longer regulates or tracks COVID-19 for cruise ships departing from the United States.

Initially, the set of mandatory steps that cruise lines had to follow in order to continue their voyages eventually became voluntary and are now completely abolished.

It is not yet known if this means that the cruise line will reduce pre-cruise testing and vaccination requirements. Due to the lack of CDC obligations, cruisers may expect vaccine requirements and pre-cruise testing to soon disappear, but industry experts disagree. They also say that while cruise lines certainly want the simplest and most comprehensive rules, they also want their customers to feel safe.

It may be premature to assess how this move will affect cruise tourism to the Bahamas, Nassau Guardian Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper and the Minister of Tourism understand that this week they are expected to raise issues with the Cabinet to determine their policy position.

Background

Testing may still be required at some destinations. So while policy changes may not be absolute, the CDC’s decision seems to have paved the way for cruise lines to significantly reduce testing requirements. Given that the Bahamas has significantly relaxed COVID-19 restrictions so far, it is not yet clear how far this jurisdiction will go further in the new environment.

The CDC imposed strict limits on the industry, limited ship capacity, required masks, required vaccinations for persons over the age of 12, and insisted on pre-cruise testing and monitoring of crew positive tests. These restrictions are set out in the “Cruise Ship COVID-19 Program”.

The program became voluntary, and then last week, without fanfare or explanation, the CDC completely abolished the program. The CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for passengers, crew and communities.

Currently, all cruise lines require all passengers to prove negative for the COVID-19 test at least two days before the cruise, and all passengers over the age of 12 must also be vaccinated. ..

Industry response

Michael Bailey, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International, predicted that “pre-cruise testing is likely to go away, but” it will continue for a few more months. “

Bailey said he expects passengers to remain vaccinated for all passengers over the age of 12 on a “Presidential Cruise” on board the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas last week. The vaccine helped limit the number of severe cases on board cruise ships. Industry insiders point out that presenting a vaccine card is a far less passenger question than requiring a test taken at least two days before the cruise.

Meanwhile, Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, welcomed the move. Donald told Travel Weekly: We have finally arrived at a place that brings us far closer to where the rest of society is, in terms of the freedom to act responsibly. “

https://thenassauguardian.com/cruise-tourism-rebound-cdc-drops-cruise-line-rules/ Cruise tourism rebound. CDC removes cruise line rules

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