St. Kitts and Nevis has offered safe harbour to the AIDA Luna, a cruise ship under the Carnival Corporation brand.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called on the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the Framework for Conditional Sailing Orders (CSO) and allow for the planning of a phased resumption of cruise operations from American ports by the beginning of July.

CLIA said the early-July timeframe is in line with President Joe Biden’s forecast for when the United States will be “closer to normal.”

CLIA represents 95 per cent of global ocean-going cruise capacity.

Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s President and CEO said: “Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific—with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer.”

CLIA said less than 50 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have been reported since some cruises resumed.

“This is a testament to the industry’s unparalleled expertise, gained over more than half a century, in coordinating movements of guests and crew, efficiently organizing complex embarkations and excursions, and designing vessels that are more technologically advanced and operationally agile than any other mode of transportation,” said Craighead.

“The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel,” she added.

Craighead also noted “the accelerated rollout of vaccines is a game changer in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.”

Following the industry’s voluntary suspension of operations one year ago, cruise lines have been prevented from operating in the US by a series of “No Sail Orders” issued by the CDC.

The CSO was issued last October, but since then the CDC has not released any further guidance, as called for in the CSO, to support the resumption of US cruise operations.

CLIA stated the lack of any action by the CDC has effectively banned all sailings in the largest cruise market in the world.

“The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently. Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors,” Craighead emphasized.

While some cruise lines have announced a few sailings catering to those who have received vaccinations, CLIA does not currently have a policy related to vaccines.

The association said members are exploring a workable approach on how to include vaccinated people in their safety protocols.