CDC Director: Cruise Industry Has Stepped Up

Courtesy Cruise Industry News Jan. 12, 2022: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the cruise industry had stepped up.

“I think the Conditional Sail Order and the fact the industry has stepped up and is now interested in exceeding the compliance with the Sail Order without the order necessarily being in place is a real testimonial to how well that has worked.” she said, noting the CDC had worked collaboratively with the industry.

Walensky’s comments came after she was pressed at the hearing by Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, asking the CDC director for assurance that Alaskan businesses can count on a 2022 cruise season.

She did say, however, that cruise ships had seen a 30-fold increase in COVID-19 cases aboard over the last two weeks.

Walensky said the numbers were driven by the Omicron variant, but also noted she did not believe the Conditional Sail Order will be renewed when it expires on Jan. 15.

Instead the CDC hopes to shift to a voluntary program working with the cruise lines.

“I anticipate with ships following the Conditional Sail Order we will continue to do the oversight, watch and (provide) technical assistance and support in every single way,” said Walensky, adding she could not predict what the summer would bring.

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Cover photo: Cruise ship at Key West’s Mallory Square with schooner on sunset cruise in background. ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews

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