Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCC) has extended its sailing suspension to August, one month ahead of Carnival Cruise Line (CCL), leaving businesses that depend on cruise lines in the lurch at least another two months.
Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar told Guardian Business that cruise lines have been facing myriad logistical problems dealing with crew and readying for a world after coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdowns.
In April, RCC released a statement saying it would resume some sailing itineraries on June 11. Now the cruise line expects to begin cruising again from August 1, it revealed in its latest statement.
“Given ongoing global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has decided to extend the suspension of most sailings through July 31, 2020, with the exception of sailings from China, which will be suspended through the end of June,” the statement pointed out.
“We are working with our guests and travel partners to address this disruption to their vacations and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience.”
On May 4, CCL announced in a statement that it would delay most of its operations until August 31.
D’Aguilar said the pandemic has been “just awful” for the almost 60 percent of the country’s population that depends on tourism.
“The entire tourism sector is at a full dead stop,” said D’Aguilar.
“The government is moving as quickly and as safely as possible to reopen the sector, because so many people in the country rely on it.
“The cruise component of the tourism sector always seems to be incredibly resilient. They have always prided themselves on the fact that no matter what happens in the world – 9/11, the meltdown of 2008 – that industry always grew. So, this obviously is a sharp, hard kick in the stomach and hopefully their historic resilience prevails.”
The unfortunate sailing delays present a silver lining for Nassau Cruise Port Limited, which will have empty berths to repair and construct as it prepares to completely overhaul and redevelop the Port of Nassau.
NCP recently raised $130 million to begin work on the port in earnest.