By Dave Sebastian

 

The industry group for cruise operators has called for federal health authorities to allow cruise lines to start sailing out of the U.S. by July and to scrap a framework for sailing resumption that has been in place for nearly five months.

The Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA, on Wednesday said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's framework for conditional sailing issued in late October is "outdated" and doesn't reflect the results of cruising resumption in other parts of the world. Cruise operators haven't been sailing in the U.S. since coronavirus outbreaks on ships brought voyages to a halt a year ago.

"Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors," CLIA President and Chief Executive Kelly Craighead said.

Under the CDC's order, the timing for U.S. voyages ultimately depends on receiving a permit, and cruise operators must conduct mock sailings and apply for a certificate at least 60 days before offering passenger cruises. Canada, meanwhile, has banned cruises until February 2022.

The CDC has said it will issue more orders and technical instructions that will address how cruise lines should prepare for sailing resumption. A CDC spokeswoman on Wednesday didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about when the additional instructions will be released.

Other countries including Singapore, Italy and the U.K. have authorized cruises or set a clear target date for them to set sail. Almost 400,000 passengers have sailed since some countries first began allowing cruises in July 2020, according to CLIA.

The two Republican senators from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, earlier this month introduced legislation to ease legal restrictions for cruise ships transporting passengers between Washington state and Alaska amid the Canada ban. For trips to Alaska, cruise ships are legally required to make a stop at a foreign port -- in this case, Canada.

"It's effectively a no-sail order," Ms. Murkowski said of the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order at a hearing this month involving CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Dr. Walensky said at the hearing that the CDC wasn't able to provide guidance for when details of the next phase of the conditional-sailing framework will be released because the decision-making process involves several agencies.

 

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 24, 2021 12:26 ET (16:26 GMT)

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