An association of major cruise lines has announced yet another voluntary suspension of all sailings from U.S. ports, marking the third such announcement in recent months.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a trade association with members including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Virgin Voyages cruise lines, among dozens of others, announced Wednesday the extension of a voluntary pause in operations through Oct. 31 in response to the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. The pushback applies to all of CLIA's 27 member cruise lines, which also include those operated by Norwegian, Disney and Princess Cruises.
Prior to Wednesday's announcement, CLIA had only extended the suspension of cruise activity through September 15.
“This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry,” wrote the CLIA, in part, of its decision. “However, we believe this proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior.
A row of cruise ships is seen docked near the Port of Miami amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The CLIA added that it will “continue to monitor the situation” and possibly issue a further suspension “on or before” Sept. 30.
“At the same time, should conditions in the U.S. change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart.”
Despite the CDC’s No Sail order for vessels under U.S. jurisdiction, some cruise ships are still currently experiencing coronavirus outbreaks on board. The Paul Gaugin, for instance, is currently docked outside of Tahiti with some 340 passengers and crew confined to their cabins after a passenger tested positive last week. (iStock)
In its press release, the CLIA also noted that the CDC’s current “No Sail” order for cruise ships, which currently prohibits any vessel with the capacity for more than 250 passengers, only required those ships to suspend operations through Sept. 30. However, the CLIA was previously critical of the CDC’s initial “No Sail” order issued in April, saying it was “singling out an industry that has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols… despite numerous challenges beyond the industry’s control.”
Similarly, as part of its latest announcement, the CLIA further cited figures from its own 2018 Economic Impact Analysis, which claims that each additional day of suspended operations costs the cruise industry up to $110 million in “economic activity,” as well as approximately 800 jobs. The impact of such suspension is said to profoundly impact areas that depend heavily on cruise tourism, including Florida, Texas, Alaska, Washington, New York and California.