Coronavirus: Cruise industry association extends U.S. sailing ban through at least Oct. 31

Coronavirus: Cruise industry association extends U.S. sailing ban through at least Oct. 31
A cruise ship is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 11, 2016. The Cruise Lines International Association announced Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, it is extending the voluntary suspension of all cruise operations in U.S. waters through at least the close of October amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Luiz Souza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The leading cruise industry trade association announced Wednesday it is extending the voluntary suspension of all cruise operations in U.S. waters through at least the close of October amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the Cruise Lines International Association announced: “Committed to the health and safety of passengers and crew, CLIA oceangoing cruise line members are announcing a third voluntary suspension of U.S. cruise operations until 31 October 2020.”

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The cancellations extend well beyond the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “No Sail” order that bans cruising in U.S. waters through Oct. 1, WESH reported.

The association’s member lines serve 95% of the world’s oceangoing cruisers, and the revised guidance will apply to all member ships the CDC order applies to: vessels carrying 250 or more passengers, USA Today reported.

Meanwhile, the association will announce no later than Sept. 30 – the day the CDC’s “No Sail” order is set to expire – whether a further extension is necessary. The industry may also consider an earlier start of shorter, modified cruises if COVID-19 activity subsides, the newspaper reported.

“The extension will allow additional time for our oceangoing members to work with outside experts and partners to develop enhanced public health protocols,” Bari Golin-Blaugrund, the association’s senior director of strategic communications, told USA Today.

According to the newspaper, the cruising community typically generates nearly $53 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and the industry will have been stalled for seven months – at a loss of about $110 million daily – if the voluntary sailing suspension expires Nov. 1.

To date, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line have all voluntarily canceled sailings scheduled through Oct. 31, and Carnival subsidiary Princess Cruises extended its suspended operations through Dec. 15, USA Today reported.