Cruise lines call on passengers to ask Congress to restart US cruising

Apr 9, 2021

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I love seeing messages from Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club in my email inbox. They’re usually filled with interesting tidbits about destinations on forthcoming voyages or ways to earn extra loyalty points. But, the note I got today was different.

Celebrity Cruises asks that I — and all of its past and future passengers — reach out to our elected officials in the Congress and Senate to urge them to restart cruising from U.S. homeports.

The email says, in part, that “Cruising remains the only sector of the economy that is prohibited by the U.S. Government from operating at this time.” This is due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conditional Sailing Order, which bans cruise ships from sailing from ports in this country.

This has been a great source of frustration not only to cruise lines and cruise fans but also to the State of Florida, where many homeports, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, are located. On Thursday, TPG reported that the state of Florida had filed suit against the federal government to force it to allow cruise lines to resume sailing out of U.S. ports.

Celebrity and the Sunshine State aren’t alone in this fight, though. Major players in the industry, from Norwegian Cruise Line to Royal Caribbean to the industry’s CLIA association, are all asking Congress to take action. They believe it’s necessary to restart cruising from U.S. ports and their customers agree. According to Celebrity’s email, more than 300,000 jobs have been lost in the U.S. because of the suspension of cruise travel.

Screenshot from Celebrity Cruises’ email

While some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Viking Cruises, Seabourn and Silversea, have put summertime sailings on their books, none of them can embark from a U.S. port due to the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order.

If you want to sail this summer, you’re jetting off to ports in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Iceland or Greece.

Cruise lines are asking the House, Senate and the Biden administration to lift the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order by this July.

It appears that the cruise lines may have some support from U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. At a White House briefing today, he said, “The CDC is hopeful that a lot of these operators will be able to be cruising by mid-summer. We want to do this as soon as we responsibly can, but we want to be safe.”

If you want to weigh in on this issue, CLIA’s Action Center makes it easy to do so. In addition to explaining the issue, it offers a template where you can enter your information to email your thoughts to your U.S. senators and representatives.

There’s also a tab if you want to take your message to Twitter and information on how to call your representatives if you prefer to literally voice your opinion.

Featured image of Celebrity Apex courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

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