The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has affirmed that its mandatory rules for the resumption of cruising, the Conditional Sailing Order issued in October, 2020 will become a voluntary framework on January 15th.
The order, which has been updated several times, replaced the March 2020 No-Sail Order which stopped the industry for many months. It contains the conditions under which ships have been allowed to resume cruising, including standards for crew and passenger anti-Covid measures and masking.
The switch to voluntary status may not have much effect at this point, as the cruise lines have adopted and in some cases exceeded the CDC rules, and have extended them to dates well past the January 15 date.
On the other hand, what is having a serious effect on the cruise industry at this point is an increasing number of Covid cases, primarily Omicron, among fully-vaccinated passengers and crew. Some sailings have been canceled and sales for some have been put on hold.
And, of course, CDC has also recommended strongly that passengers not take cruises at this time, vaccinated or not, Covid safeguards or not.