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Will Australia Follow the CDC’s Simulated Voyages Requirement to Restart Cruising?

November 3, 2020 Cruise News, Headline News No Comments

With cruising heading towards restarting in the USA after the US CDC lifted the no sail ban, the key question for us Aussies is when will cruising restart in, to or from Australia, even if it is intra or interstate or even inter-region cruising?

While the vessels that operate in and to Australia are registered in a plethora of different flag of convenience countries, one fairly common factor is that the majority are US “owned and operators, dominated by the big three, namely Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

So, I reckon that it is pretty reasonable to imagine, maybe assume or even that it would make a great deal of “why reinvent the wheel” common sense that Australia will follow and maybe emulate the rules imposed by the USA regarding cruise operations starting, that cruise companies will need to conduct various simulated voyages to test health, safety and outbreak protocols.

What are these rules?  Well, according to our friends at US based Cruise Industry News, here you go

Key CDC Simulated Voyage Overview

  • The cruise ship operator must conduct any simulation on a consensual basis and not as a condition of employment or in exchange for consideration or future reward. The cruise ship operator must document the informed consent of all participants in writing.
  • The cruise ship operator must embark additional crew members beyond safe minimum manning levels only as determined through CDC technical instructions or orders.
  • The cruise ship operator must design and conduct a simulated voyage insofar as practicable to test the efficacy of the cruise ship operator’s ability to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 onboard its cruise ship.
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct a monitored observation period and laboratory testing of volunteer passengers, as directed in CDC technical instructions or orders, prior to embarking volunteer passengers on a simulated voyage.

Key CDC Simulated Voyage Requirements 

  • Embarkation and disembarkation procedures, including terminal check-in,
  • Onboard activities, including at dining and entertainment venues,
  • Private island shore excursions, if any are planned during restricted passenger voyages,
  • Evacuation procedures,
  • Transfer of symptomatic passengers or crew, or those who test positive for SARS- CoV-2, from cabins to isolation rooms,
  • Quarantine of all remaining passengers and non-essential crew, and
  • Other activities as may be listed in CDC technical instructions and orders.
  • The cruise ship operator must meet standards for hand hygiene, face coverings, and social distancing for passengers and crew, as well as ship sanitation, as may be required by CDC technical instructions or orders.
  • The cruise ship operator must modify meal service and entertainment venues to facilitate social distancing during the simulated voyage.
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct laboratory testing of all passengers and crew on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation as required by CDC technical instructions or orders. Laboratory test results must be available prior to passengers embarking and prior to passengers and crew departing for their final destinations after disembarking the ship. Crew and passengers must also be laboratory tested again post-disembarkation as required by CDC technical instructions or orders. Based on public health considerations, CDC may also require additional laboratory testing of passengers and crew and reporting of results, including during a voyage, as required by CDC technical instructions or orders.

So, all pretty rigorous, but frankly as I know cruise operators well, not at all onerous to comply with and all processes with which they are already very familiar indeed.

Well, here’s to crossing everything for great trouble-free and totally compliant simulated voyages and re-start to cruising in the US and of course speedy “copycat” implementation and restart in Australia.

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

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