Cruises departing from the U.S. will not be sailing until at least October as the Center For Disease Control (CDC) has extended its ‘No Sail Order’.
The agency said their “No-Sail Order” recommends that Americans avoid going on a cruise entirely for their own health and safety. It also prevents cruise lines from operating within U.S. jurisdiction.
In its executive summary, the CDC points to the number of outbreaks on cruise ships.
“The data revealed a total of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships, meaning that 80 percent of ships within US jurisdiction were affected by Covid-19 during this timeframe,” the CDC noted in a summary.
The previous order issued by the CDC was scheduled to end on July 24, 2020. However, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) had already extended its suspension of cruise operations through September 15.
The decision comes as several cruise lines have suspended their itineraries until the fall, including MSC Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line, which even predicted it won’t carry full passenger capacity until 2022.
The latest “No-Sail Order” was extended until at least Sept. 30 for “cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction,” according to the CDC. The order was originally implemented on March 14 and had previously been extended.
The agency said the decision was made “to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely.”
“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the CDC noted, adding: “If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners… and the communities they return to.”
As COVID-19 spread around the world, cruise ships saw widespread outbreaks on board, including Holland America Line’s Zaandam, as well as Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess and Diamond Princess, which became one of the first cruise ships to experience an outbreak of the virus in February in Japan.
The CLIA has released a statement in response to the new No Sail Order:
As reflected in today’s announcement, CLIA and its member lines remain aligned with the CDC in our commitment to public health and safety,” the statement said. “We are also pleased that the CDC has announced its intention to issue a request for information about the industry’s resumption of passenger operations.
“As we continue to work towards the development of enhanced protocols to support the safe resumption of cruise operations around the world, we look forward to timely and productive dialogue with the CDC to determine measures that will be appropriate for ocean-going cruise operations to resume in the United States when the time is right.”
Cruise lines voluntarily halted operations on March 14 when the CDC issued its first No Sail Order. The order was then extended in April and has now been extended once again.