(4:15 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise Lines International Association, has announced its oceangoing member lines will voluntarily suspend all cruising operations from the United States through September 15 due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"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," CLIA said in a statement sent to media. "The current No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on 24 July, 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."
In early April, the CDC extended its No Sail Order to July 24. Speculation since then has centered around whether the CDC has actually made serious attempts to take cruise line's resumption of service plans into account. A recent Marketwatch article noted that analysts have described the CDC's treatment of cruise lines as "unjust" and suggests shareholders should blame the organization for the continued delay of resumption of cruise within the United States.
“Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will 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 crewmembers," CLIA said in a statement. "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 noted that the voluntary suspension only applies to CLIA members affected by the CDC's No Sail Order -- vessels with a capacity to carry more than 250 persons, passengers and crew, total. Most of the largest cruise lines, including all brands under the Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings umbrellas, are CLIA members.
"CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary."
What About Cruises in Other Parts of the World?
CLIA's directives apply only to CLIA member lines sailing itineraries out of the United States. Sailings scheduled to depart from other parts of the world to non-U.S. ports of call are unaffected by this voluntary suspension and are unaffected by directives issued by the CDC, which only has authority within the borders of the United States.
This means that CLIA member lines such as Holland America Line or Silversea could technically operate cruises from non-U.S. embarkation ports, provided they had local regulatory approval to do so.
What Lines Are Members of CLIA?
Oceangoing CLIA member lines operating out of the United States include Azamara, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Pearl Seas Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Scenic, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Virgin Voyages and Windstar Cruises.
CLIA members worldwide also include lines like Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred.Olsen Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Marella Cruises, and P&O's UK and Australian arms.
Notable lines sailing from the United States that are not members of CLIA include Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and Viking.
Cruise Critic will update this article with more information as it becomes available. CLIA's voluntary suspension of cruising comes as several U.S. states see their highest daily numbers of COVID-19 infections to-date.