WASHINGTON, D.C. — Travel enthusiasts who were looking forward to getting away from the world's woes and taking a relaxing cruise this summer are out of luck.
Cruise Lines International Association, the cruise industry trade association, announced Friday that all cruise lines at American ports have voluntarily extended the suspension of cruises until Sept. 15 due to continuing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a "No Sail Order" on March 13 after least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers testing positive for the coronavirus or experiencing symptoms of the virus.
On April 9, the CDC extended the order through July 27.
Cruise lines had begun accepting late summer reservations when the trade association met and agreed to suspend cruises through Sept. 14.
“Although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that (July 27), it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States," said Kelly Craighead, CLIA’s president and CEO.
“Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crew members," said Craighead. "The additional time will also allow us to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations. CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary.”
The No Sail Order applied to all cruise ships with a capacity of 250 people or more.
Craighead said the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the cruise industry. The CLIA 2018 Economic Analysis, the latest report by the CLIA, said the cruise industry supported 421,711 jobs throughout the United States totaling more than $23.15 billion in wages and salaries.
"Each day of the suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. results in a total loss of approximately $110 million in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs," said Craighead.
The cruise industry has an annual economic impact of more than $52.7 billion. In 2018, nearly 13 million cruise passengers worldwide embarked from ports in the United States.
“There’s no doubting the enormity of the cruise industry’s contributions to the U.S. and global economies," Craighead said.
Beyond the cruises themselves, the CLIA said cruise lines, passengers and crew members spent a record $23.96 billion at ports of call.
In its June 18 filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Carnival Corp., the largest cruise line in Florida, reported an adjusted net loss of $2.4 billion during the No Sail Order.
"The company expects to resume guest operations after collaboration with both government and health authorities, in a phased manner, with specific ships and brands returning to service over time to provide its guests with enjoyable vacation experiences," said Carnival in its report to the SEC. "The company anticipates that initial sailings will be from a select number of easily accessible home ports."
However, to help make up the financial losses, Carnival told the SEC it plans to sell six of its ships in the next 90 days.
According to CLIA, the top 10 states that benefit economically from the global cruise industry are:
- New York
- New Jersey
Florida has more ports with cruise line terminals than any other state. More than 1,200 cruises depart from Port Tampa Bay, Port Miami, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and Port of Jacksonville each year, including the world's three largest cruise lines: Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
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