CDC Outlines Plan for Cruise Simulations to Test Covid Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its guidelines for simulated cruises, a key step through which vessel owners can prove their safety to the government and get approval to resume profitable voyages in U.S. waters.

According to the CDC’s new instructions issued Wednesday, cruise companies should recruit “volunteers simulating the role of passengers” on trial sailings. Participants, who must be at least 18, have to either be fully vaccinated or provide a doctor’s note or self-certified statement that they have no high-risk conditions.

The voyages should last two to seven days, and companies need to run at least one such simulation for each ship that they want cleared for the next phase: restricted-head-count sailings with paying customers.

The simulations are a key part of the CDC’s plan, but they’re not the only one. The companies can skip the trials if they ensure that 95% of passengers and 98% of crew are fully vaccinated. It’s possible that many cruise companies will avail themselves of both routes back to the seas.

Some other key elements of the simulation plan:

  • The ship operators must submit post-voyage Covid-19 testing specimens for at least 75% of volunteers.
  • At some point, each ship must simulate all recreational activities the company plans to offer on paying cruises, such as “casinos, spa services, fitness classes, gymnasiums.”
  • No self-guided shore excursions will be permitted during the simulations.

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