Progress is being made with US health authorities to remove the no sail order covering US ports, according to Royal Caribbean Group boss Richard Fain.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is said to be engaging in a constructive dialogue to enable a return to cruises in a safe and healthy manner by mid-July, including Alaska.

Fain said in a new video message to the trade: “Recently the pace of progress has accelerated.”

He described talks with the CDC as having “improved significantly” and said: “Things are decidedly looking up.”

Fain said: “Data we have provided from sailings abroad is driving increased confidence.”

Dramatic improvements in the vaccine rollout, testing and contact tracing has enabled a “fresh look” at the situation.

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“We now have data from operations around the world,” Fain said. “Over 400,000 people have taken cruises. That successful experience has not only given us comfort about the safety of cruising, but it has also given us data to discuss with the CDC and other health authorities.

“Based on that data, over 30 countries have already granted permission for cruising, and we’re optimistic that the CDC will too.”

Wider industry lobbying for the safe return of cruises is beginning to be heard in Washington.

“Based on the advances in science and the data provided by our experiences abroad, the CDC is engaging in a constructive dialogue with us and the industry to enable a return to service in a safe and healthy manner.

“We are pleased the science and data have advanced so far in just a few months The CDC has publicly stated that this could enable cruising to restart as early as mid-July.

“We agree with that assessment and we are more optimistic than ever that a realist path forward can be achieved in that timeframe.

“That would enable a summer season in Alaska and elsewhere.

“The final decision is up to the CDC and I caution you that we cannot pre-judge their decision. Nevertheless, the science today is clear – our willingness to protect our guests, crew and the communities we serve is strong.”

The new US administration is prepared to have the kind of dialogue that could lead to a constructive outcome, Fain added.