It will be another three months at least before cruise lines are able to start sailing from US ports, or calling at any American ports on itineraries from overseas, according to a new order issued by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The new order was released on Friday, and the world’s major cruise lines have not yet responded to it or given an indication of how it will affect their planned schedules for returning to service, but it’s likely that major US-based lines will need to extend their own shutdowns.
Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, the three biggest cruise companies in the world, had all been planning to resume cruise operations in May, but the CDC’s order means the US market will remain off limits until at least June.
This Order renews the No Sail Order and Other Measures Related to Operations signed by the CDC Director on March 14, 2020 — subject to the modifications and additional stipulated conditions as set forth in this Order. This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of
- (1) the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;
- (2) the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or
- (3) 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.
From the CDC website
According to Motley Fool, from an economic perspective, the ruling at least removes ambiguity for American cruise passengers about when its safe to go cruising again, but will leave the cruise industry without access to the world’s largest cruise market.
While other countries around the world may allow cruising again before June, the North American cruise market accounted for more than 53% of all cruise passengers projected to take a cruise during 2020 according to Cruise Market Watch.
“The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.
There are currently 100 cruise ships anchored off the coasts of ports around the US, with a further 20 cruise ships in various US ports with crew or passengers aboard showing symptoms of Coronavirus.
According to the CDC, at least 21 cruise ships operating in the United States have had outbreaks of the virus onboard.
The global pandemic has forced the cruise industry to suspend operations globally, and is costing Carnival Corporation alone US $300-million per day according to a report by Seatrade.