Update: Since publishing, some June cruises have returned to Carnival’s website, but they are only for June 27 or later. Trips in May or the rest of June are still not available.
The cruise line has since announced that it will suspend cruises through at least June 26.
When cruise lines first announced their suspension of sailings in mid-March, it was originally planned for just about 30 days.
Turns out that was wishful thinking.
As the virus continued to spread and impact more people, cruise lines extended those suspensions of service. Right now, most have “return to sailing” dates of mid-May. There’s mounting evidence, however, that may be too early to get back to sailing.
Case in point: As of this morning Carnival Cruise Line’s website showed no cruises available for May and June.
Officially the cruise line has suspended all ships from sailing through May 11, 2020. But when Cruzely conducted a search for trips in May and June, the Carnival website returned a message saying no cruises were available within that time period:
This search included all ports, ships, destinations, and durations. The only limits put on the search were the dates of sailing.
However, when the same search was adjusted to cruises in July, then a full assortment of cruises was available:
There is always the possibility that this is simply a glitch in the cruise search tool.
A later search right before this article was published showed a single cruise — a 5-day trip from Mobile on May 16 — as the only cruise available during May or June. Another search in a different browser showed May and June unable to be selected.
At press time, Carnival’s Newsroom website shows no official announcement, and we have not seen an official press release from the cruise line stating that cruises are on hold until July.
Cruzely reached out to Carnival for comment, but did not immediately hear back. We will update if we hear more details.
If in fact Carnival suspends sailings again, however, it would not be a surprise.
Why Suspending Cruises Until July Seems Possible
To say the coronavirus outbreak has hit the industry hard would be an understatement. Never before has the entire industry suspended sailings.
Unfortunately, the number of cases in the United States and around the world continues to grow.
At this point, the likelihood of the world being able to sail again in just a month seems small. For the United States — the world’s largest cruise market — it’s been a little over a month since the outbreak started, and the country has yet to see a peak in active cases.
As of now, the United States has 400,000 active cases, according to tracking site Covidly.com. That’s an increase of 28,500 in the past day. There are 1.1 million active cases worldwide.
While the virus continues to rage, that’s to say nothing of the time it will take for recovery and then implementing guidelines for easing stay-at-home restrictions and getting back to normal once the outbreak does subside.
As well, foreign ports that cruise ships visit must be willing to let vessels dock. We’ve seen many turn ships away in the past several weeks. Canada won’t allow vessels until at least July 1.
Finally, cruise lines must be confident they can keep passengers healthy. With the weeks of headlines about the virus and cruise ships — even after the suspension of cruises — the industry has a black eye that will take time to recover from. New cases on cruise ships would only delay that recovery.
These represent a number of hurdles that must be overcome before sailing can resume. It certainly seems like that will take longer than another month.