If your cruise vacation was just canceled, look at your options before rebooking or asking for a refund.
The cruise industry has voluntarily suspended cruising in U.S. waters until “at least” Oct. 31, a month past the date the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-sail” order is set to expire.
“We believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of U.S. ocean-going cruise operations to Oct. 31,” Cruise Lines International Association, the major trade organization for ocean-going cruise lines, said in a statement provided by Bari Golin-Blaugrund, senior director of strategic communications.
CLIA’s member lines carry 95% of the world’s ocean-going cruisers. The new order will apply to all CLIA member ships the CDC order applies to – vessels that can carry 250 or more passengers.
But the extension comes with caveats. The restart date, Nov. 1, isn’t set in stone. The organization will continue to evaluate the situation and said it will announce whether a further extension will be necessary on or before Sept. 30, the day the CDC’s “no-sail” order is scheduled to end. However, if “conditions” in the U.S. change to allow short, modified sailings, it will consider an earlier restart.
“The extension will allow additional time for our ocean-going members to work with outside experts and partners to develop enhanced public health protocols,” Golin-Blaugrund told USA TODAY.
The news comes as coronavirus cases have started to pop up on ships that have resumed operations around the world. CLIA said in the statement thatby further extending its sailing suspension, which has been in place since March 14, that they are demonstrating “the cruise industry’s commitment to public health.”
Previously, in June, CLIA announced its member cruise lines would voluntarily suspend operations until Sept. 15, before the CDC announced its current “no-sail” order extension, which the industry group then aligned itself with.
The decision to extend the suspension further was a difficult one to make, CLIA said in the statement. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the cruising community, which typically generates nearly $53 billion to the U.S. economy annually, according to its most recent economic impact study. According to the organization, each day of the suspension results in a loss of $110 million and 800 “direct and indirect” American jobs. By the time CLIA’s new voluntary suspension expires, the industry will have been shut down for more than seven months.
Some of its member lines have already suspended operations through Oct. 31 such as Norwegian, Regent and Oceania and another cruise line, Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of cruising giant Carnival Corp., has extended its operational pause in the U.S. through Dec. 15.
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