The CRUISE Act was introduced aimed at overriding the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate to get cruise ships sailing again from US ports.
However, US Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) (pictured) managed to block the bill from passing through the Senate.
The Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act was introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Senator Sullivan released a statement to the media noting that Senator Murray had objected, thus preventing the bill from passing.
The purpose of the CRUISE Act was to bypass the CDC Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) ban on cruise ships and allow them to sail again as early as 4th July.
According to a Royal Caribbean blog, speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Scott implored action for the fair treatment of cruises, “My colleagues and I are simply asking the CDC to provide a timeline when the cruise industry can begin to reopen like so many other sectors and the cruise that ensures they can do that in a safe manner.”
“The CDC is treating the cruise sector unfairly while other industries are open for business. There is no reason why America’s cruise industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on US success should continue to suffer. Cruises can and should resume. And we’re going to do everything we can to bring about cruising safely,” he said.
Senator Murray objected to the legislation, claiming cruise ships need new rules, “Cruise ships require specific focus and protocols in place to prevent future outbreaks.”
The entire cruise industry has committed to sweeping new health and safety protocols derived by an independent group public health experts, led by former US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr Scott Gottlieb, Royal Caribbean said.
These protocols include testing of every person on board, social distancing, face masks and much more.
Senator Murray added, “We must trust the science and we must allow the CDC to continue its work to help us return to what we love as safely as possible.”
“So I will continue to work with CDC and the administration as they develop the next phase of their cruising guidance, but for now, I object,” she stressed.
Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) had introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The CRUISE Act also proposed the creation of an interagency working group, which would issue recommendations for how to mitigate the risks of COVID–19 introduction, transmission, and spread among passengers and crew on board cruise ships and ashore to communities.
Senator Scott pointed out the glaring double standard cruise ships are held to compared to every other sector of travel, “Today, hotels are open, airlines are flying, beaches are open, restaurants are open, tourism sites are open, amusement parks are open. They’re all open.
“But for whatever reason, the cruise industry has made a decision to not allow cruising to happen. So they singled out this industry and cannot tell any of us why they’ve singled this out.
“All we are asking is for the CDC to provide a timeline of when the cruise industry can begin to reopen. The cruise industry wants to do it safely,” he said.