On Friday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he’s hopeful that cruises will be operating in the USA by mid-summer. Here’s the transcript from the White House Press Briefing Room.
Reporter: Since you’re Transportation Secretary — travel, obviously a big part of what you have to worry about. To Americans eager to get back overseas, whether it’s by plane or by cruise ship — as you know, there have been questions about the cruise industry, especially this past week.
CDC issued some guidance; there’s concerns that it perhaps didn’t have enough specifics — or specific benchmarks, I guess. Have you been in touch with the CDC about that industry’s concerns? And to cruise industry leaders who say, “We should be treated more like the airlines,” what would you say?
SECRETARY BUTTIGIEG: Well, the bottom line is safety. Right? And we’ve — look, I’m the Secretary of Transportation; I can’t wait for us all to be on the move as much as possible in a safe and responsible way, but it’s got to be safe and responsible. And airlines have — airplanes have one safety profile; cruise ships have another, vehicles have another. And each one needs to be treated based on what’s safe for that sector.
I’ll tell you, I certainly care a lot about seeing the cruise sector thrive. And I know that CDC is hopeful that a lot of these operators will be in a position to be sailing by mid-summer. And laying out these specific, kind of, gates that they need to get through is a very important step toward that.
Reporter: And to the industry leaders who say mid-summer is too late, to the governors who say that’s too late for our state economies, you would say what?
SECRETARY BUTTIGIEG: We want to do this as soon as we responsibly can, but we also have to make sure that it’s safe.
Obviously, we all want the pandemic to be over and to get back to everyday life and travels, which includes cruising. However, after the nightmare that took place last winter, I can understand the hesitancy of the CDC to bring cruise passengers, back to U.S. soil. Many cruise lines are not waiting and shifting operations to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, Israel and Singapore.
I know many of the cruise lines are going to require everyone, from their staff and crew to passengers to be fully vaccinated (show proof of your second shot of Moderna, Pfizer or single of J&J and that it took place 14 days or greater). If they do that, I would be comfortable going on a cruise but probably not the first one since I want to see how they do. How about you? KEEP READING: CDC Forces Airlines to Crack Down on Fake COVID-19 Tests