NEWS & ANALYSIS

CRUISIN’ FOR A BRUISIN’: New CDC Guidelines Put Summer Cruise Restart in Jeopardy


In its latest transparent abuse of power, the CDC released new guidelines that could delay big-ship cruising out of U.S. ports…again. 

Speaking with Wall Street analysts Thursday, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio suggested the new guidelines create a major obstacle for the industry. 

“We need more clarity on whether the numerous and onerous requirements would apply to all voyages,” Del Rio said. “But at first glance, it appears the path forward is a bit rockier and a bit steeper than originally expected.” 

New requirements posted on the agency’s website Wednesday provide a long list of rules that would make it near impossible for cruise lines to restart quickly and with even a remote sense of normalcy. 

For example, in an attempt to redefine the concept of tan lines, the CDC requires sunbathers to wear masks even when lounging by the pool. This is despite the fact that lounge chairs must be placed six feet apart. 

What’s worse, the cruise operations manual also called for mask wearing while eating or drinking. 

“In between bites of your meal and in between sips of your beverage, you have to put on your mask, take off your mask,” Del Rio noted. “So nobody should order soup, because your mask might get sloppy. That to me is just preposterous.” 

Indeed, it is. 

Del Rio noted that 70 percent of Americans are expected to be vaccinated by the beginning of July, when his company wanted to restart operations. He suggested the restrictions don’t seem to align with the path for the future of our country. 

“I am disappointed at first read,” he said. “It’s not in the spirit of where the country is heading, where President Biden wants to open the country.” 

“We hope we’re reading it wrong,” he added. “We’ll see what happens over the next few days as we re-engage with [the CDC].” 

These new policies are simply contradictory to previous restrictions and recommendations put forth by the CDC. 

Two weeks ago, they announced that individuals who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks when outdoors. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said less than 10 percent of documented transmission happens outdoors. So, if you’re eating outside on a cruise ship, why must you wear a mask in between bites? 

Even in many cases, six feet social distancing is no longer necessary. But, if you’re going on a cruise with your family, prepare to be lounging by your lonesome.