It what has become a scene that seemingly plays out month after month, cruise lines look likely to announce another round of extensions to their current suspensions from sailing.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), Regent Seven Seas, and Oceania Cruises has kicked things off, saying it is cancelling another round of trips.
For NCL — the company’s biggest line — it is suspending the following trips:
- All sailings through August 31st
- All sailings in September except Seattle-based Alaska cruises
- Four other October sailings
In other words, the cruise line is largely stalled until at least October at the earliest. Previously the cruise line had planned to return in August. The October return date would put the extension due to the health crisis at approximately six-and-a-half months after it began in mid-March.
More Suspensions From Other Cruise Lines?
What’s more is while there hasn’t been word from rivals Carnival or Royal Caribbean just yet, past suspensions from all the major cruise lines have tended to be announced around the same time. Therefore, it’s possible that more lines could announce their own extensions in the coming days.
This latest extension comes as the United States — and the world — continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
While countries in Asia and Europe have been able to squash the virus, it continues to ramp up in many nations. The United States has seen the number of cases seemingly stuck around 20,000-25,000 new cases each day. Meanwhile, many states are opening back up and have actually seen increases in cases. This includes cruise hot spots like Texas and Florida.
In response to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently has a “No Sail Order” in place that is set to expire in late July, but could be extended. While there hasn’t been an official word, in our opinion it seems likely that the order will be extended as the cases in the United States — the biggest cruise market in the world — continue to be elevated.
If there is any good news, there is reportedly progress on a vaccine and treatments, and many countries have been able to get the virus under control. That gives some hope that in a couple more months, there could be progress that allows cruises to sail safely again.