Major cruise lines agreed to suspend voyages from U.S. ports until Sept. 15, marking another setback for an industry trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
The industry group Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA, said Friday that it would use the extra time to consult with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on steps to safely resume cruises.
“Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crew members,” CLIA said in a statement announcing the decision.
The CDC’s no-sail order is set to expire on July 24, and speculation had mounted that some voyages would begin as soon as August. With the extended suspension, the world’s biggest cruise lines will now be going at least six months without U.S. customers. Earlier this week, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings extended its pause on global cruising through the end of September.
Princess Cruises, Holland America Lines and Carnival Cruises last month canceled their remaining Alaska cruises from Seattle for the season.
The latest “voluntary suspension” affects all CLIA member vessels with capacity of 250 or more people. The group’s members include industry giants Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises, as well as most of the rest of the industry.
Carnival spokesman Roger Frizzell declined to comment, deferring to CLIA’s statement.
Royal Caribbean spokesman Jonathon Fishman said his company was “focused on developing additional measures to further protect our guests, crew and our destination partners.”
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.