Another month, another round of extensions to the “return to sail” dates provided by the cruise lines.
This time, however, there was little surprise when the major cruise lines adjusted their return dates to late June or early July.
When the cruise lines announced a suspension of sailing back in mid-March, it was originally planned to last only about 30 days. The tentative return date at that time was in mid-April. Since then, the return date was extended to mid-May for most lines.
Now within the past week or so, all of the “big three” cruise companies have announced their suspensions will be even longer.
Carnival was the first to announce a further extension. While they had previously planned to return to sailing in mid-May, the cruise line has now cancelled all cruises through June 26, 2020. The tentative return date is now June 27.
In addition to cancelling all sailings through that date, other sailings have been cancelled even farther in the future. This includes:
- All San Francisco sailings through 2020
- All Carnival Sunrise sailings through and including October 19, 2020
- All Carnival Legend sailings through and including October 30, 2020
- All Carnival Radiance sailings through and including November 1, 2020
Royal Caribbean also extended their suspension. Whereas the cruise line planned to return in May, it has now cancelled all sailings through June 11, 2020. In addition, Alaskan cruises that included Canadian ports are cancelled through June 30. Canada has announced it will not allow cruise ships to port until July 1 at the earliest.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Just today Norwegian was the last of the “big three” cruise lines to announce an extension on their pause from sailing. The cruise line had planned to return in the middle of May — just about three weeks from now. That’s been extended through June 30, 2020. Norwegian now plans to sail again on July 1.
Will Another Extension Occur?
These extensions mark the third major round of announcements regarding suspended sailings. There was the first announcement in March that essentially closed the industry down, the first round of extensions announced by cruise lines several weeks ago, and now this second round of extensions.
The big question is if another major extension will occur. At this point it seems possible.
On April 9, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced modifications to its “No Sail Order” placed on the industry for cruise ships sailing U.S. waters. This effectively shuts down cruises in the United States until it is lifted.
In the announcement, the CDC laid out how long the order will last:
“This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of three situations. First, the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency. Second, the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations. Or third, 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”
The only concrete figure provided is the 100 days from the date of publication, which would extend into late July. While the order could be lifted earlier if the crisis subsides, or extended if it continues, there’s no way to know when or if that might happen.
That means even though cruise lines have said they plan to return in June or early July, that could have to be extended for U.S. sailings based on the CDC order. Hopefully the situation will improve in the weeks to come.
More on the cruise crisis:
- Will Cruises Get Cheaper? Signs Point to More Cruise Deals
- When Will Cruise Lines Sail Again? Here’s When It Could Happen
- Stunning Map Shows Dozens of Cruise Ships Off the Coast of Florida
- Should You Cancel Your Cruise Given the Crisis?