Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its ocean cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily suspend operations until at least Oct. 31 2020, the association announced Wednesday.
CLIA’s previous voluntary suspension was set to expire Sept. 15, while the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) currently has a No-Sail Order date of Sept. 30.
“This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry. 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,” CLIA said in a statement.
“CLIA cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension on or before Sept. 30, 2020. 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.”
Following the decision, Carnival Cruise Lines said it cancelled all cruises scheduled to embark between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31. Guests are being offered an enhanced value package of a future cruise credit and onboard credit, or a full refund.
“If conditions in the U.S. change and short and modified sailings are possible, the industry may consider an earlier restart, and we would consider that as well,” Carnival said. “In the meantime, we will continue to work with public health and government officials to finalize enhanced health and sanitation protocols and procedures that will guide our eventual return to service.”
Some cruise lines have begun to cancel sailings even beyond that date, as much remains unknown about the constantly changing factors surrounding COVID-19. Princess Cruises has canceled almost all of its sailings until Dec. 15, and Crystal Cruises canceled all of its ocean and yacht voyages through 2020.