- Cruise ships will not return to U.S. waters until 2021
- Even Canada has extended its cruise ship ban until the end of March 2021
- Cruises have not sailed in U.S. waters since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nations
THoD Newsdesk, USA: U.S. waters to remain barren as cruise ships will not be setting sail until next year as prominent cruise lines continue to keep their itineraries at a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) proclaimed this information, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifting their ‘No Sai’ order to a ‘Conditional Sail’ order just 2 days earlier.
The order outlined the framework for a four-phase return to cruising that includes new health protocols, such as implementing mandatory testing and capacity restrictions. Cruises have not sailed in U.S. waters since the coronavirus pandemic hit the nations in March. Even Canada has extended its cruise ship ban until the end of March 2021.
CLIA’s voluntary suspension of U.S. operations expired on Saturday but the extension came in quick succession and now the new date is marked at December 31. CLIA includes Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean and it makes up for 95% of the global cruising industry.
In a news release, CLIA stated that the continued suspension of operations “will provide additional time to align the industry’s extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.”
Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines have also extended their suspensions as they are operated by the parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, according to The Points Guy. Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises has also called off their scheduled trips. Refunds will be initiated to Norwegian customers who had booked an upcoming cruise and additionally, they’ll also receive a 10% off coupon on a future booking. Royal Caribbean is offering multiple options to guests including Future Cruise Credit, a “lift and shift” option to reschedule a trip or a refund. Keeping in sight the future, many cruise lines including Norwegian and Disney have launched itineraries for 2022 which are available for booking as of now.
The CDC director for the division of global migration and quarantine, Martin Cetron, told The Washington Post on Friday that there was no timeline for passengers to return to U.S. waters. Passengers would only be permitted after cruise lines completed the required steps, including “a series of mock voyages with volunteers who will play the role of passengers.”
A statement by CLIA noted, “CLIA members are committed to implementing stringent measures to address COVID-19 safety, including 100% testing of passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities, and trial sailings, among many others,” CLIA said in the announcement. “We share a common goal with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect public health, which has been affirmed and reaffirmed consistently throughout the industry’s response to the global pandemic.”