Cruise giant Carnival cancels all sailings into February, some into March

Nov 19, 2020

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It now will be at least February before you can get on a Carnival Cruise Line ship.

The Miami-based cruise giant on Wednesday said it would extend its eight-month-long halt to cruise operations through at least 31 January for all vessels.

In addition, the line cancelled all sailings out of Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina.; Jacksonville, Florida; Long Beach, California; Mobile, Alabama.; New Orleans; and San Diego through the end of February.

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Sailings out of Tampa on the line’s Carnival Legend were cancelled through 26 March.

Until Wednesday, Carnival only had cancelled voyages fleetwide through the end of December.

The announcement comes nearly three weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a road map for a return to cruising in U.S. waters that suggested it could be many months before cruising could resume.

Nearly all Carnival ships operate in U.S. waters.

The CDC road map for a resumption of cruising in U.S. waters, issued as a “framework for conditional sailing” order, includes a testing period for new anti-COVID protocols on ships that could extend well into January. After that, cruise operators can apply for what the CDC is calling a Conditional Sailing Certificate in a process that could take an additional 60 days.

Assuming the CDC sticks to the guidelines that it has laid out in the order, it could be March or April, at the earliest, before cruising resumes out of U.S. ports.

Carnival Mardi Gras
The soon-to-debut Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival’s announcement also comes as COVID-19 case counts continue to soar in both Europe and North America. The U.S. in recent days has been recording well over 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.

“We are committed to meeting the CDC requirements and keeping our guests and business partners informed of our progress,” Carnival president Christine Duffy said Wednesday in a statement accompanying the line’s announcement. “The entire Carnival team appreciates the great support of our guests, travel advisors and business partners, and local officials in our homeports and destinations.”

In announcing the cancellations, Carnival said that 16 of its ships are currently taking part in the CDC process to resume operations in U.S. waters in 2021.

The line currently has 23 vessels with one more joining its fleet in the coming months.

The ships in Carnival’s current fleet that are taking part in the CDC process to resume sailing include Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dream, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Glory, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Pride, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista.

The line’s soon-to-debut Mardi Gras, currently under construction at a shipyard in Finland, also is taking part in the process, the line said.

In its announcement Wednesday, Carnival said it was planning a gradual approach to a restart of cruising that would focus initially on sailings out of just two ports, Florida’s PortMiami and Port Canaveral, to be followed by sailings out of Galveston, Texas.

Cruising has resumed in a very limited way in recent months in parts of Europe, led by Europe-based lines such as MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and TUI Cruises. A handful of lines in other parts of the world including French Polynesia also have resumed limited sailings. But, so far, no line has successfully resumed sailings in North America.

Related: These 9 cruise lines have resumed limited sailings

Just last week, one small cruise company, SeaDream Yacht Club, attempted to resume voyages in the Caribbean out of Barbados with a small vessel. But the sailing did not go well. It ended with a COVID-19 outbreak and passengers quarantined in their cabins. The line this week cancelled all remaining cruises for the rest of the year.

All cruise lines around the world halted departures in March as the coronavirus outbreak grew and many have yet to restart operations. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America are among the major lines that haven’t operated a single departure since March.

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Featured image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

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