All major ocean cruise line members of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will suspend operations from and to U.S. ports of call for at least 30 days, a move made in cooperation with the U.S. Government, to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The suspension will start on March 13 at 12:00 a.m. EST. Those ships currently at sea will return as soon as possible to disembark guests.
Kelly Craighead, the president and CEO of CLIA since the beginning of 2019, made the announcement on Friday evening, calling the current public health crisis “an unprecedented situation.”
“Our industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working under the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exceptional vacation experiences for guests, as well as meaningful employment opportunities for crew. This has been a challenging time, but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible,” she said in a statement.
Adam Goldstein, the longtime Royal Caribbean executive who left the company earlier this month and current CLIA chairman, said that the decision wasn’t made lightly and that CLIA made the decision because it wanted to show the commitment of the cruise industry “to putting people first.”
“During this time, we will continue to work with the CDC and others to prepare for resumption of sailings when it is appropriate. We know the travel industry is a huge economic engine for the United States and when our ships once again sail, our industry will be a significant contributor to fueling the economic recovery.”
The news follows earlier announcements by a number of cruise companies, including Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings and river cruise companies across the board, to suspend operations to help combat the spread of COVID-19 both at home and abroad.