Major US-based cruise lines have begun removing cruises longer than 7 days from their planned itineraries featuring departures from, or visits to, North American cruise ports.
The move to suspend cruises longer than one week comes as part of guidance from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that limits cruises longer than 7 days from sailing from US ports.
The measures are part of the CDC’s new Framework for Conditional Sailing announced on October 30th, which includes a number of other regulations, including enhanced health and safety measures like social distancing and mandatory COVID-19 testing.
The new Framework for Conditional Sailing is valid through November 1st, 2021, meaning that US cruises longer than one week are likely to be banned until then.
Carnival Cruise Line was one of the first to drop its voyages over one week in length departing from US homeports, removing the sailings from its booking system on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Holland America Line confirmed that it was also dropping cruises longer than one week that call in, or depart from, the US.
“While we await further information, we have (temporarily) stopped selling all cruises eight days and longer which call upon a U.S. port and depart January 1 through November 1, 2021,” the company said.
“For those who are currently booked on one of these cruises, we ask for your patience to receive further information from Holland America Line on whether your cruise is impacted,” it added.
With the continuation of travel and port restrictions due to global health concerns, Holland America Line has also extended its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through Dec. 31, 2020.
Princess Cruises has also issued a statement on its website advising passengers that, for now, bookings on voyages over seven days in length from US ports of call are suspended.
“Princess Cruises has reviewed the U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC) Framework for Conditional Sailing and is seeking additional clarification to fully understand the requirements,” reads a statement.
It’s important to note that the booking of these cruises is suspended, the cruises themselves haven’t been cancelled. The CDC guidance only called for cruise lines to stop selling or marketing such cruises.
This measure is one of many regulations contained in the new CDC guidance about which the cruise lines have asked for more guidance.
It may be that the CDC worded the requirement unclearly and actually means for cruise lines to drop the cruises altogether, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
European sailings with the same cruise lines affected in the US follow the European Union’s Healthy Gateways framework for the resumption of cruising, which places no such limitations on cruises.