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Cruise ships in the Caribbean (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Cruise ships in the Caribbean (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Cruise Lines Follow CLIA Lead With Extended Suspension of Operations

Cruise ships in the Caribbean (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Cruise ships in the Caribbean (Photo: Cruise Critic)

June 30, 2020

Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

(Updated 1:29 pm. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Cruise Line have followed CLIA's lead and cancelled all cruises in North America until the middle and end of September respectively.

Both Carnival and RCCL -- which encompasses Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea -- were due to restart as early as August 1, just a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ban on cruising was due to be lifted on July 25.

However, CLIA (Cruise Line Industry Association) announced Friday that all its members would voluntarily suspend operations from U.S. homeports through September 15, 2020.

"During this unprecedented pause in our business, we have continued to assess the operating environment and confer with public health, government and industry officials," Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy told booked guests and travel agents in a letter sent today. 

But she added that following the cruise industry's announcement on Friday that it would voluntarily extend its pause in North America, Carnival Cruise Line is now cancelling all cruises through September 30.

"We have watched with great interest as commerce, travel and personal activities have begun to start back up, and once we do resume service, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we bring our ships to in order to maintain public confidence in our business."

A statement from RCCL read: "Given ongoing global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has decided to extend the suspension of most sailings through September 15, 2020, excluding sailings from China, suspended through the end of July, and sailings to Bermuda, suspended through October 31, 2020."

CLIA-member cruise lines issuing further extensions to their North American sailng programs include:

  • Azamara - all departures suspended through September 15, 2020.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines - all departures cancelled through September 30, 2020.
  • Celebrity Cruises - suspension of most sailings through September 15, 2020.
  • MSC Cruises - all Caribbean cruises from U.S. homeports suspended through September 15, 2020
  • Royal Caribbean - all voyages cancelled through September 15, excluding China (July) and Bermuda (October 31, 2020)

Silversea, Royal Caribbean's luxury brand, remains largely unaffected as the majority of its cruises take place from non-U.S. ports of call. Silver Muse, however, is still shown as departing Seward for Tokyo on September 10.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which comprises Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, had previously announced a global suspension of operations until September 30. It was hoping to offer Alaska saiings from Seattle throughout September, but made the decision to cancel those too. The latter were already marked by uncertainty following regulatory changes in Canada that have cancelled most cruises through October 31.

The vast majority of sailings aboard Cunard, Holland America and Princess Cruises had already been suspended into the fall months.

It is worth noting that the CLIA announcement refers just to ships departing U.S. homeports, not elsewhere in the world. It also only applies to CLIA members; neither Viking (suspended until August 31); nor Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line (suspended until July 25) are CLIA members.

"Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is not a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and will continue to take guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) regarding its return to sea," a Bahamas Paradise spokesperson told Cruise Critic. "Unlike CLIA member lines, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line was first to achieve ‘green’ status for Grand Celebration from the CDC. We are also the only cruise line based in West Palm Beach, which allows us to completely control the terminal experience of our guests.

"We sail to Grand Bahama Island, which has a small population and a 100-mile stretch of beaches, providing a safe, intimate experience. And, we recently introduced a variety of new and improved safety measures, that are being implemented from embarkation to disembarkation, to ensure the health and safety of our guests and crew when we return to sea on July 25th."

Cruise Critic will update this story as more information becomes available.

A full list of cruise line return to service dates can be found here.

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