While cruise ships and the coronavirus has made headlines, most people aren’t aware of just how many vessels have been impacted by the outbreak.
Just a few months ago the coronavirus — or COVID-19 as it’s now widely known — was something that most people had never heard of. Today, it’s known around the world and has had a global impact.
It’s changed the way we work, closed schools, and put a new term — social distancing — into our lexicon.
But that’s seemingly just the start of the impact. Entire industries have been put on hold, including cruising.
A Complete Suspension of Cruising
Starting in mid-March, the cruise industry effectively shut down due to the virus outbreak. While a few trips already sailing continued, new cruises were halted. At first the stoppage was planned to last only a month. It’s now been extended several times to where cruise lines don’t plan to return before June.
While cruise lines have plans to return in June, there is reason to believe that may not be the case. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently modified a “No Sail Order” that must be lifted before trips can resume from the United States.
That order has several different possibilities for end dates, but the most concrete is 100 days from when the order was made. That would mean cruises couldn’t sail again until late July. (Keep in mind the order can be extended.)
More Than Two Dozen Impacted Ships in the United States
The world is familiar with the major stories of outbreaks on cruise ships, including the Diamond Princess off the coast of Japan. But what many may not realize is the sheer number of cruise ships that were associated with cases of COVID-19 here in the United States.
In the U.S. (the world’s largest cruise market), the CDC reports that 25 different cruise ships were impacted with either confirmed cases on the ship or passengers who fell ill within two weeks of sailing.
To give you an idea of what that looks like, we’ve mapped each ship based on the port in the United States that it sailed from or to during the impacted trip.
Zoom in on the map clusters to see individual ships affected.
As you can see, with Florida being the cruise capital of the world, it also had the most ships impacted. But the impacted ships stretch all the way from San Francisco to New York City.
Meanwhile, each of the ships last departed no later than March 15. So all these ships have been impacted despite most of them not sailing for over a month.
Below is a full list of the impacted ships and sailings shown in the map above, as provided by the CDC. We’ve also added the impacted port for each.
An asterisk means that the CDC was alerted to passengers with COVID-19 who had symptoms while on the ship. Sailings with no asterisk means that a passenger had symptoms and tested positive within 14 days of getting off the cruise. It is possible that these passengers picked up the illness somewhere other than the cruise ship.
When Will Cruises Sail Again?
At this point there is still no definitive timeline for when cruises will get back to sailing, however, it doesn’t appear to be soon. As mentioned, cruise lines extended their cancelled sailings well into June, with some specific trips cancelled for even longer. For instance, Carnival will not sail trips from San Francisco until 2021.
But as mentioned above, the CDC’s “No Sail Order” will need to be lifted before any trips in the United States can get back to sailing. That order lays out three ways that the order will be lifted. One of the following must be met:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations
- 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register (July 24)
One thing to note is if the COVID-19 outbreak continues, then the CDC can extend this order. It doesn’t mean that cruises will definitely be sailing after July 24.
In addition, ports of call also have to be willing to allow travelers to visit. Already Canada has said it won’t allow ships to port until at least July. Those orders could be extended, and other countries could restrict cruise ships.
Given the spread of the outbreak, suspending cruises for the time-being seems to have been the right move for the industry. Even after suspending new trips more than a month ago, the virus still found a way to impact more than two dozen cruise ships.
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