NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that The Bahamas is effectively in a “wait-and-see” situation as to when the cruise industry resumes operations, noting that cruise lines remain in the “grasp” of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).

D’Aguilar, who was speaking to reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, said: “The cruise ships are very much in the grasp of the CDC. The Centres for Disease Control in the US is the entity that is going to evaluate when and if a cruise company can resume its service.

“Every month it seems to get pushed back, rather annoyingly, but there is nothing we can do about it here except wait until that process finishes and the cruise companies can resume.

“Apparently they have a path to complete. They are in the process of completing that path but exactly when they will resume their service is anyone’s guess.”

The CDC lifted the No Sail Order for cruise ships last November, ending a more than seven-month ban.

The No Sail Order first went into effect on March 14, 2020 and was extended on April 15, July 16 and September 30, when it was extended until October 31.

The CDC has established a series of requirements cruise lines will have to undertake to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC said a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations.

The initial phase will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members and ensuring cruise lines have adequate health and safety protections for crew.

It noted that subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test the cruise lines’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements and a phased return to passenger cruises in a manner that, the CDC said, would mitigate COVID-19 risk to passengers, crew and US communities.

Carnival Cruise Line announced earlier this month that it will be canceling all scheduled March 2021 sailings. The cruise line hopes to resume regular voyages, on at least a few ships, beginning in April of this year.

Last week, Royal Caribbean announced that it would be suspending all sailings through April 30, citing the safety of its guests and crew as being the top reason for the continued suspension.

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