TORONTO — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its No Sail Order to Oct. 31, 2020, forcing many cruise lines to cancel cruises through the fall.
This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Cumulative surveillance data reported to CDC from March 1 through Sept. 29, 2020 shows at least 3,689 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, in addition to at last 41 reported deaths, though it’s likely these numbers are incomplete and an underestimate. The CDC extended its No Sail Order in mid-July, barring the operation of all U.S.-based ocean-going cruise ships through to Sept. 30. The No Sail Order has been in place since March when COVID-19 became a pandemic and after several cruise ships were stranded at sea with passengers who had contracted the virus.
In response to the No Sail Order, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) has once again extended its brand-wide suspension of operations to include all voyages embarking between Nov. 1-30.
The extension applies to all three of the company’s brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. The company previously announced its suspension of global operations to include all voyages embarking between Oct. 1-31, 2020.
Guests who are currently booked on cancelled voyages on any of the three brands are asked to contact their travel agent or the cruise line for more information.
Carnival Cruise Line has also announced the cancellation of cruises from all U.S. homeports for November and December 2020.
Operations from the Miami and Port Canaveral homeports are still not certain; cruises currently scheduled for November and December from these homeports will remain in place for the time being while Carnival evaluates options.
Impacted guests and travel agents are being notified of cancelled cruises and are being offered a combination future cruise credit and onboard credit, or a full refund. Guests currently booked on cruises in November and December out of Miami and Port Canaveral are being offered the ability to voluntarily cancel their reservation and receive the same offer that all other impacted guests are receiving.
Carnival continues to work on protocols and procedures that would allow for the resumption of cruise operations, with a gradual, phased-in approach, designating Miami and Port Canaveral as the first two homeports for embarkations.
“As we have said throughout this pause, our return to operations will be gradual and phased in. And while we are not making any presumptions, once cruising is allowed, we will centre our initial start-up from the homeports of Miami and Port Canaveral,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
She added: “The health and safety of our guests, crew and communities we serve remain the cornerstone of our plans and decisions. The patience and support of our guests and travel agent partners have been a huge motivation to our team as we have worked through this unprecedented situation and we are dedicated to getting back to operations when the time is right.”