by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention No Sail order for cruise ships from the US is in effect through November 1, 2021. That declaration was made in October 2020.
However, that order is being challenged by Cruise Lines International Association and Royal Caribbean International who announced on March 19 that it will restart cruises to the Caribbean in June with all adult passengers vaccinated.
Cruise Lines International Association President and CEO Kelly Craighead declared that the CDC’s October position “does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world.”
Craighead added that, “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.”
The CDC’s “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, states that “there will be a suspension of further embarkation for cruise lines in the country until Nov. 1 of 2021, or until the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency”, according to the CDC’s website.
With a third wave of the coronavirus sweeping the EU, and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s concerns, it is unclear just when that CDC declaration will be lifted even with the global vaccination rollout.
In St. Kitts-Nevis, 85% of our tourists are cruise visitors.
After the Chief Executive Officer of the St. Kitts Tourism authority stated that Cruise ships will not return to the Federation and the 14-day quarantine for tourists and returning nationals will not be lifted until St. Kitts and Nevis achieved “herd immunity,” a forum was held on March 24 with tourism officials and people who depend on cruise and airline passengers, for business and their livelihood.
One of the points raised during the forum centered around a date for the entire region to work towards as a guiding light.
However, Brown in an explanation said that a date would not work stating, “… it’s a stark reality, there are other destinations territories, yes, that have started. Vaccination does not mean they may not have spikes. There is risk involved. But, where we sit now, that not even 10 percent of our tourism industry is not vaccinated, that is totally unacceptable.”
Whether cruise actually returns to the region in June or in November, St. Kitts-Nevis will not be privy to it until we achieve the 70 percent inoculation of the adult populace.