Carnival Corp., which includes Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn, and more, joined its cruise industry competitors on Monday announcing it would not sail in December 2020 and will instead look to restart its operations in 2021.
“As we move towards the resumption of our cruise operations, we have made the decision to cancel the six ships that had remained in our schedule for December 2020 from Miami and Port Canaveral,” Carnival said in a statement.
“We continue to carefully evaluate the Framework for Resuming Cruise Ship Operations Order issued on Oct. 30 by the CDC. As we complete our analysis and a plan to comply with the CDC’s directive, we will update guests about deployment and scheduling plans for our fleet and homeports. We appreciate the support or our guests, travel advisor partners, and local officials in homeports and destinations.”
The news closes the door on any potential 2020 return for most of the major North American cruise lines. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also announced on Monday that it was now looking to resume in 2021, followed by Royal Caribbean Group and MSC Cruises later in the day.
The cancellations come on the heels of the CDC’s announcement it would allow its “no-sail” order to expire at the end of October. The CDC framework, which can be found in full here, states that cruise lines can now pursue “a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations” with “a careful approach.”
While the news on Friday was a positive step towards cruising’s return to some kind of normalcy, the CDC’s requirements is still forcing cruise lines to make a number of changes before they return to sailing. That includes testing and additional safeguards for crew members, along with the installation of onboard facilities in place to test future passengers.
The CDC is also requiring all lines go ahead with simulate voyages “to test cruise ship operator’s ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk.” All ships will have to meet specific requirements for recertification and then, and only then, can cruise ships start a phased return to service.
Carnival, for its part, had planned to target a small, phased-in approach for its November and December sailings, the last of which it cancelled on Monday, centering its initial start-up from its major homeports Miami and Port Canaveral.