Association of major cruise lines voluntarily suspends US sailings through September

An association of major cruise lines has announced the voluntary suspension of all sailings from U.S. ports through the middle of September.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which counts Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney cruise lines as members, among dozens of other major lines, announced Friday that the “ocean-going” ships in its members’ fleets will extend the pauses of their operations until at least Sept. 15, in response to the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

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The CLIA said the suspension applies to all cruise lines subject to the CDC’s current “No Sail” order, which is set to expire on July 24.

“Due to the ongoing situation within the U.S. related to COVID-19, CLIA member cruise lines have decided to voluntarily extend the period of suspended passenger operations. The current No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on 24 July, and although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States,” the CLIA writes on its website.

“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 crewmembers. We have therefore decided to further extend our suspension of operations from U.S. ports until 15 September. 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.“

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Previously, the CLIA was “concerned” about the CDC’s decision to extend its No Sail order back in April, saying that the order was “singling out an industry that has been proactive in its escalation of health and sanitation protocols… despite numerous challenges beyond the industry’s control.”

“The potential impacts include, but are not limited to, the potential loss to the USA economy of $51 billion and 343,000 lost jobs in the first year alone if we assume the national emergency lasts 1 year (which is how long the last health-related national emergency was for H1N1),” the CLIA wrote at the time.

The CLIA had previously expressed concern over the CDC's April decision to extend a "No Sail" order for ships under U.S. jurisdiction.

The CLIA had previously expressed concern over the CDC's April decision to extend a "No Sail" order for ships under U.S. jurisdiction. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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In its latest announcement, the CLIA maintains that every day of suspended operations in the U.S. “results in a total loss of approximately $110 million in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs.”

The CLIA’s press release further stipulates, however, that their decision only applies to “ocean-going” ships from U.S. ports, with the capacity for 250 persons or more.

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"CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary,” the association’s statement concluded.