Cruise lines have pushed their sail dates back once again, with September 15 being the earliest a ship would leave U.S. ports.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) revealed in a statement released on Friday that cruise lines voluntarily agreed to the new sailing suspension time frame. According to the CLIA, barriers still exist that would not allow cruise lines to safely take on passengers while still in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Florida, which houses many of the home ports for ships that frequent The Bahamas, has recently experienced a spike in its COVID-19 cases.
“Due to the ongoing situation within the U.S. related to COVID-19, CLIA member cruise lines have decided to voluntarily extend the period of suspended passenger operations,” the CLIA statement noted.
“The current no sail order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on July 24 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.
“Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy, safe and 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. We have therefore decided to further extend our suspension of operations from U.S. ports until September 15. The additional time will also allow us to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations.”
CLIA stated that its suspension applies to all of its members which includes Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Virgin Voyages. Virgin has yet to sail the maiden voyage of its first cruise vessel, which was scheduled to sail in April. According to press reports, Virgin Voyages is expected to have its first sailing in October.
Disney had announced that it would extend sailing suspensions for its Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships through July 27, 2020. According to Disney’s website, a three-night cruise is scheduled to visit Nassau and the cruise line’s private island, Castaway Cay, departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, on July 31.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCCL) announced late last month that it extended its sailing suspension to August, one month ahead of Carnival Cruise Line (CCL).