While many of us dream of setting sail on a luxurious cruise across the Caribbean Sea, there is no amount of free buffet food and Broadway-esque entertainment that can distract one entirely from the reality that cruise ships tend to be more at risk for outbreaks of infectious diseases. Given the close proximity of travelers in a relatively small, enclosed space, justifiable concern exists about cruising in the days of Covid.
As such, on March 14, 2020 the United States Government issued a No Sail Order for cruise ships with the capacity for at least 250 passengers in waters subject to US jurisdiction, and where an overnight stay onboard by passengers and crew is anticipated. This order has been extended numerous times over the last few months and was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2020.
Prior to the expiration, Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested another extension of the No Sail Order to Mid-February 2021. However, at the Coronavirus Task Force meeting this week, the Order was extended another month and scheduled to expire on October 31,2020, allowing cruise ship companies to decide whether to resume their services on November 1, 2020.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents major cruise lines world-wide, had already decided to postpone ocean sailings in US waters until at least November. The CLIA stated that they plan to follow the recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel – a group established by several of the major cruise lines.
When cruise lines resume their services, masks will be mandatory for all passengers and crew, and anyone boarding the ship will first be required to take a COVID-19 test before they are allowed to board. All cruise ships must also have a designated number of isolation cabins in the event of an outbreak while at sea.
So what does this mean for the US Virgin Islands? We haven’t yet heard whether our Governor will allow cruise ships to return to our ports next month. We will keep you posted with any new developments!
What do YOU think? Will you be booking a cruise in the coming months?
24 thoughts on “Cruise Lines Given the Green Light to Set Sail November 1, 2020”
If Governor allows Cruise ships in STJ, we will cancel our trip in December. Testing needs to be done prior to boarding & days after. One Positive person on a ship is too many. Then others get off ship & spread it to islands! No, nope, stupid idea. We are isolated at home & will get tested before we go. I don’t trust Cruise Companies. It’s money, not keeping islands safe!
Floating petrified dish disease vestibules with all-you-can-barf buffet. No thanks.
Cruise Ships won’t be coming to St. John, there is no harbor for them.
Will have to consider canceling our December trip to St John. Trip was originally planned for this past March. Hopefully the Governor will say no to cruise ships. He’s been very smart so far in keeping the USVI safe.
Negative COVID test within 24 hours required to debark.
I want to follow this thread. A place like St John lives off Tourism – so it’s going to be interesting to see what is decided here.
There is no way I would get on a cruise ship now! There are too many people too close together.
Maybe you would like to go on a river cruise on AMA Waterways in 2021?
We have no plans to cruise again for at least a year.
No way! Not Safe! Too risky!
don’t let it happen, why put yourself at risk
Passengers on cruise ships, need to have a negative Covid test result, within five days of their visit to St John…… just like airline passengers!
We are looking forward to our upcoming St John trip in January, just like we’ve been doing for the last 10 years.
St john can’t afford to have ANY Covid positive visitors arrive on it’s shores, and risk having to close the island to all visitors again!!!
Too early for Cruising………..We all want to travel but, let’s keep folks safer so we can travel again!! Safe now, Safer later!
But what about the wide range of reliability of testing?? We know CDC put an uber calibration for covid testing that would detect a molecule of covid that would not be enough to get anybody sick, and report the person as positive (see CDC website). Whos is doing the counting? Who’s administering the tests? Are they trained technicians? How do you know if the testing supplies are reliable? One day you can test positive and then the next you can be negative on a different test. Which one is right? It can also lead to a false sense of security. I LOVE St John!! I cannot wait to come back! But I am not a fan of testing as a criteria for entry, especially for asymptomatic people. Turning visitors away at the airport seems like a nightmare scenario for everybody. What happens to a family if some test positive and not others? Do you turn them around on a flight home? Everybody loses.
I choose Faith over Fear. Mask up inside, clean and sanitize surfaces. Stay home if any symptoms. Use common sense. Respect and trust each other.
Cruise ships are another story…Hard no for now…
In response to your inquiry about what happens to a family if some test positive and others don’t, no one is turned away upon arrival at our airport – even those who are Covid-19 positive. Instead, the guest is asked to self quarantine for up to 14 days (or the duration of their stay) at their villa, hotel, or their previously arranged accommodations. Theoretically, we won’t face this situation very often if visitors comply with the testing requirements before traveling. While it’s not a perfect system, testing is the best option we have available at this time if we keep our doors open for guests.
Cruise passengers are the rudest in the travel industry (IMHO), especially on the lower cost lines. You want a group of “rules are not for me” or “I know my rights”people coming to your islands, then by all means, open up your ports. I never understood the 5 day thing. I can test negative then contract the virus on the way home from the clinic. I’m waiting for the vaccine. Then I’ll book my trip to St John.
If Trump can get Covid at his age and health, and be fine, I think we can all agree this is not EBOLA.
Open up the economy and let’s get on with our lives.
AMEN Dr. B!
I’m with Dr Redfield. Ships are a petri dish. The passagers interact at different ports with different people on different islands. Doesn’t make any real sense. You can’t test enough in the time line after every port. USVI Govenor keep ports closed. Flying first with tests. Than ease into Cruise ships. Look at the testing done at the WH? It’s not 100% accurate. It takes days for a person to test postive if enough of virus isn’t present yet. Be Smart. If cruise ships are allowed in St Thomas or St John, we will cancel our trip. I’m sure i’m not alone on this subject. I don’t think Trump getting Covid is a good example to debate your opinon. Just saying.
On recent airline flights that were unfortunately packed, noticed a significant number of passengers who would ignore rules in-flight and lower their masks. Sorry for the criticism but I would expect cruise passengers to be equal or worse in their behaviors….all in a more challenging environment. No thanks.
I haven’t flown since this pandemic. So, you have actually flown? Still on the fence whether to pospone or cancel? I don’t think I could keep my temper if I saw people on flight taking their masks off.
Please no! We are planning to arrive on Christmas and it will never happen if cruises cause a massive spike.