MIAMI — Many cruise companies had already extended their suspension of operations beyond the summer months and into the fall months, but there were a few notable holdouts.
Now cruise lines including Carnival, MSC and Royal Caribbean have updated their plans, in the wake of CLIA’s announcement that the voluntary pause in operations by all of its ocean-going cruise line members has been pushed to Sept. 15.
The wording of CLIA’s statement suggests it anticipates that the CDC’s No Sail Order, currently set to expire July 24, could be extended even further. “The current No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on 24 July, and although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States,” says CLIA.
The organization adds that “although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crew members.”
CLIA says the extra time will also allow it to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations, and says “CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary.”
The voluntary suspension applies to all CLIA members with ships impacted by the No Sail Order, i.e. ships carrying 250 or more passengers.
Carnival announced this morning that it has extended its operational pause in North America through Sept. 30.
Carnival is currently completing the repatriation of nearly 29,000 crew members to more than 100 nations who serve its fleet of 27 ships. As with previous pause announcements, passengers who want to move their booking to a later date can opt for a rebooking offer that combines a future cruise credit (FCC) with either a US$300 or $600 onboard credit (OBC), or a full refund. The process is fully automated so that guests can submit their preference online and they have until May 31, 2021 to make a selection.
“We have watched with great interest as commerce, travel and personal activities have begun to start back up, and once we do resume service, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we bring our ships to in order to maintain public confidence in our business,” said Carnival’s President, Christine Duffy. .
“We appreciate the patience and support of our loyal guests, and recognize how much they want to get back to cruising. When the time is right, our outstanding onboard team will be waiting to welcome them back and give them the great vacation that they deserve,” she added.
MSC Cruises confirmed today the voluntarily further extension of the halt of operations of its ships operating from U.S. ports in the Caribbean until Sept. 15. The announcement impacts two ships, MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia, that were previously scheduled to sail in the region during this time period. Passengers affected by the cancelled cruises will receive an FCC by July 20 where they have the opportunity to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice, on any ship, for any itinerary, through to the end of 2021.
MSC Cruises had previously announced the temporary halting to its current ship operation up until July 31 in the other regions where the company operates.
MSC also confirmed today the full details of its Winter 2020/2021 season, offering over 90 different itineraries across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, the Gulf, South Africa, South America and Asia. The entire MSC Cruises fleet, including two brand new vessels currently under construction, will be in operation starting from March 2021 for the summer 2021 season, says the company.
At Royal Caribbean’s site, the cruise line has updated its COVID-19 section, saying it will share more details about CLIA’s announcement this week.
For the latest dates from a long list of cruise lines see Travelweek’s Supplier Update: Cruise Lines.