The CDC has removed its health notice related to cruise travel that was put in place more than two years ago.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to see that the CDC recognizes that it’s time to remove the Travel Health Notice website,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages, in a statement. “While we feel this was a long time coming, we recognize this move as a demonstration of all of the hard work this industry has done to ensure that we’re offering the safest way to travel. It’s refreshing to see them meet us where we’re at, and clearly where our consumers are at considering the major uptick in demand we’ve seen.”
The health notice served as a platform that provided guidance to consumers on restrictions in cruise travel, grading systems and collaborative protocols for sailing safety. The removal of the health notice, say cruise industry executives, demonstrates the transition back into pre-pandemic operations for the cruise industry.
In a press release statement, Virgin Voyages says it “remains committed to its elevated health and safety protocols and continues to put the wellbeing of its Sailors and Crew first. The brand recognizes what is working and looks forward to continuing to make strides that contribute to the complete comeback of cruising.”
Holland America Line’s president Gus Antorcha said in a statement that, “The CDC’s removal of its health notice related to cruise travel is an important step forward in recognizing the work we have done to protect our guests. At Holland America Line, we continue to operate vaccinated cruises and have created a safe and healthy environment for our guests, our teams, and the communities we serve, helping to ensure cruising is among the safest forms of socializing and travel.” Adding that, “We recently extended our Worry-Free Promise to allow flexible cancelation for cruise bookings made by May 31 and embarking by Sept. 30 of this year.”
During CLIA”s Cruise360 Conference, currently taking place in South Florida, Michael Bailey, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, noted that, regarding the CDC dropping its health notice, “Over time they’ve learned about our industry and we’ve learned about their concerns and we’ve built trust. We had a lot of ships sailing through Omicron and everything was handled flawlessly; we came thru it. The fact that they removed the warning is a very positive step for our industry—you’re free to cruise.”