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Legally Speaking

New 2020 Cruise Safety Regulations Introduced

Some cruise industry officials suggest that operations may return to US waters by the end of the year, but it will happen with a new set of cruise safety regulations in place to combat the coronavirus. When cruise travel resumes, it will require regulations including universal mask-wearing, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing, and increased fresh air in ventilation systems.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry body that represents the world’s major cruise lines, recently announced the new health regulations that cruise lines will need to have in place in order to resume operations. Currently, the industry is under a “no sail” order that has been extended until October 31, 2020.

New Cruise Safety Regulations

The key elements of the new cruise health regulations were created with medical experts and health authorities and decided on by CLIA cruise lines and their teams of health experts to create a safe and healthy cruising experience amid the pandemic.

Here are the mandatory core elements of the new health regulations to be implemented before cruise lines resume operations:

  • Testing. Passengers and crew will be tested before embarking and will have their temperature checked throughout the voyage.
  • Mask-wearing. All passengers and crew are mandated to wear masks on board and during excursions whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Distancing. Physical distancing must be maintained in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands, and during shore excursions.
  • Ventilation. Air management and ventilation strategies will be put in place to increase fresh air onboard, using enhanced filters and other technologies to mitigate risk where needed.
  • Medical capability. Each ship will need risk-based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs on board and must create dedicated cabins for isolation. Ships must also establish arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.
  • Shore excursions. Ships may only offer shore excursions that follow the cruise operators’ rules and all passengers must abide by the regulations. Passengers who do not comply will be denied re-boarding.

CLIA is requiring that each cruise company CEO verify in writing that they have adopted the new regulations before setting sail again. The new rules will be mandatory for every cruise ship.

While the CLIA suggests that sailing may resume before the end of 2020, it will still be up to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to determine when the cruise lines will be able to operate again in the US and if they will allow their “no sail” order to expire on October 31.

Cruise lines are responsible for keeping their passengers and crew safe from serious illness and injuries while onboard. When traveling, it is important to follow the recommended safety precautions. If you are injured or fall ill as a direct result of a cruise ship operator or another traveler, our team of cruise ship accident attorneys may be able to help. Call us with any questions at (305) 662-6178.


Sources: Hines, M. (2020, September 30). CDC agrees to extend ‘no-sail’ order through Oct. 31 in compromise with White House Task Force. Retrieved from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/09/29/cdc-no-cruising-until-oct-31-four-days-before-election/3508836001/. Street, F. (2020, September 21). New regulations announced for cruising’s return to US waters. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/clia-new-regulations-return-to-cruising-usa/index.html. George, B. (2020, August 10). Florida’s Economy Takes $23B Hit From Empty Cruise Ships, Ports. Retrieved from https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/business/2020-08-10/floridas-economy-takes-23b-hit-from-empty-cruise-ships-ports

Mitchell Panter
Author: Mitchell Panter

Mitchell Panter
the authorMitchell Panter

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