3 more major cruise lines cancel sailings until at least December

Oct 6, 2020

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You’ll now have to wait until at least December to take a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The parent company of the three brands, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, on Monday said it would extend its halt to cruise operations through at least 30 November.

Until today, the company only had cancelled sailings through the end of October.

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The Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announcement comes just four days after one of the line’s biggest rivals, cruise giant Carnival, cancelled most departures through January. Carnival still hopes to operate some sailings in November and December out of just two ports: PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

Two other major brands, Princess Cruises and Holland America, already have cancelled all or most sailings through 15 December.

Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line operates some of the world’s biggest cruise ships including the 3,998-passenger Norwegian Encore. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

The Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts in North America — the biggest market for the company — plateau at relatively high levels. The U.S. this month has been recording around 35,000 to 50,000 new coronavirus cases on most days.

The announcement also follows the extension of a “no-sail” order for cruise ships in U.S. waters by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The no-sail order is now in effect through 31 October.

In extending the order, the CDC suggested there was a danger to allowing cruising to resume while the new coronavirus remained widespread in society.

Related: A preview of new COVID-related cruise restrictions    

“Cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 disease epidemic within the United States”, the agency said in the text of the order. “If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, infected and exposed persons disembarking cruise ships would place federal partners (e.g. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard), healthcare workers, port personnel and communities at substantial unnecessary risk”.

One multi-page segment of the order, titled “dangers of prematurely resuming passenger operations on cruise ships”, cited a string of COVID scares on ships in Europe and elsewhere that recently have resumed sailings.

All cruise lines around the world halted departures in March as the coronavirus outbreak grew and many have yet to restart operations. In addition to Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Holland America, other major brands that have yet to resume a single itinerary include Royal Caribbean — the world’s largest cruise line by passenger capacity.

Royal Caribbean and its sister brands — Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea — have cancelled all sailings through 31 October plus some sailings beyond that date.

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 most of the voyages that are occurring are off limits to American travellers.

Due to the CDC’s “no-sail” order, there has been no cruising since March in North America.

The restart to some cruising in Europe came in the wake of a sharp drop in coronavirus case counts across the continent over the summer. But in recent weeks, cases in Europe have begun rising again.

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Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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