An industry group of roughly 60 cruise lines announced on Wednesday that they won't sail from US ports until October 31 at the earliest.
This extension from an earlier September 15 date comes amid multiple outbreaks of the coronavirus aboard cruise ships worldwide that recently began sailing.
The cruise industry has taken a huge economic hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and this further extension will magnify the impact, but it's almost certain to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Some of the most well-known cruise lines in the world won't be sailing out of the US any time soon.
An industry group of nearly 60 cruise lines announced on Wednesday that cruise companies including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney cruises would be waiting until at least October 31 before setting sail from US cruise ports.
The sail date extension from September 15 to October 31 comes amid multiple outbreaks of the coronavirus aboard some of the first cruises to set sail since the pandemic forced closures across the industry. Two cruise ships in Europe and one in the South Pacific have experienced coronavirus outbreaks. This included Norway's Hurtigruten, Germany's AIDA, and Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific region.
"This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry," the cruise industry group said in a statement. "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 [Cruise Line International Association] cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension on or before 30 September 2020. At the same time, should conditions in the US change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart."
The cruise industry is bound to take an even bigger hit as a result of this announcement. Maintaining and storing the ships is a major expense in terms of overhead. But even so, the companies need to weigh the health risks of setting sail with passengers confined to tight spaces on a ship while the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic that's forced many countries into lockdown.
Cruise activity in the US supports 421,000 jobs and generates $53 billion annually in economic activity, according to the CLIA's Economic Impact Study published in November 2019. Not to mention, each day of the suspension of US cruise operations leads to a loss of up to $110 million in economic activity, including 800 direct and indirect domestic jobs.
Listed below are the cruise lines that won't return to business in the US until October 31.
Global Cruise Line Members:
American Cruise Lines
Azamara Club Cruises
Carnival Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line
Holland America Line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Pearl Seas Cruises
PONANT Yacht Cruises and Expeditions
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Riviera Travel River Cruises
Royal Caribbean International
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
SeaDream Yacht Club
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
European Regional Cruise Line Members:
Amadeus by Luftner
Hapag Lloyd Cruises
Pandaw River Expeditions
P&O Cruises UK
Australia Regional Cruise Line Members:
P&O Cruises Australia
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