With cruise ships in the US under a “no sail order” until September 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking input from the public on when they should set sail again.

Uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting travel worldwide, and many organizations are seeking guidance on how to reopen safely. The CDC has put a request out through the Federal Register, seeking suggestions and ideas from interested people and organizations to inform future public health guidance and preventative measures in relation to travel on cruise ships.

A cruise ship sailing at night
The public can give their input on when cruise ships should set sail again © designprojects via Getty Images

The 28-question survey asks respondees' opinions on what cruise ships should do to prevent transmission of COVID-19, how frequently passengers and crew should be tested, reducing passenger capacity, and how ships should handle potential travel restrictions. It also wants to know whether respondees think cruise ship operators should make shorter trips, how they should deal with seaport closures and how COVID-19 diagnostic testing should be conducted on board.

It is important to get things right, because according to the Cruise Lines International Association, every day of suspension of cruise operations results in a total loss of approximately $110m (€97.4m) in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs. The CDC says that 80% of cruise ships have been affected by the virus to date. There were 2973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on ships between March 1 through July 10, in addition to 34 deaths on 123 different cruise ships.

Those interested in contributing to the survey can do it online or by mail by September 21 and further information is available here.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

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