Though cruise lines are currently under a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) no-sail order until July 24, many are speculating about how the future of cruising will look. Bloomberg is one of the lastest news outlets to try its hand at predicting the future of cruising and included both smaller and larger cruise lines in its analysis.
Unlike the major cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, smaller local cruise companies are not under the CDC no-sail order and hence have more freedom to plan a return to cruising sooner.
Bloomberg points to local carriers in the South, such as American Queen Steamboat Co.and American Cruise Line, which plan to return to the waters in June. Among the safety precautions that the companies intend to incorporate include pre-boarding temperature checks, a cessation of self-serve buffets, and restricted shore excursions.
Larger cruise companies will likely incorporate these measures as well, but according to the Bloomberg write-up the major cruise lines have not yet released the details of their health plans. Considering the fact that the CDC no-sail order was instituted in order to give cruise companies time to develop better hygiene and sanitation protocols, much is riding on their ability to mitigate the risk of virus contagion.
For decades cruise ships have suffered from relatively frequent outbreaks of norovirus, which they have thus far been unable to control. We have criticized the major cruise lines for their inadequate sanitation protocols which have contributed to the outbreaks, including disembarking groups of sick passengers and loading groups of fresh passengers the same day. This practice seems to have contributed to cruise ship coronavirus outbreaks as well.