3 major cruise lines say they won’t be back until at least November

Jul 31, 2020

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You’ll now have to wait until at least November 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 Wednesday said it would extend its halt to cruise operations through at least 31 October.

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

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In addition to extending its cancellations, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings on Wednesday said it would begin providing regular updates on its cruise cancellation plans monthly.

“In an effort to provide additional transparency, beginning in August, the company plans to provide an update at the end of each month regarding the status of voyage suspensions, including any potential extensions”, the company said in a statement.

The Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announcement comes just a week after one of North America’s biggest cruise operators, Princess Cruises, cancelled most departures through mid-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 announcements from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Princess come as case counts in North America — the biggest market for the companies — plateau at high levels. The U.S. in recent days has been recording more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day — more than twice the number of just six weeks ago.

The announcements also follow 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 30 September.

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

Related: Coronavirus claims another small cruise line — the third this month   

“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings”, the CDC said in a statement accompanying the order. “Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs. If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection”.

The CDC also said that those who work or travel on cruise ships would put “substantial unnecessary risk” on healthcare workers, port personnel, Customs and Border Protection agents and U.S. Coast Guard staff. The people that cruisers come in contact with after returning home also would be put at unnecessary risk, the agency suggested.

Cruise lines around the world halted departures in March as the coronavirus outbreak grew, and many of the biggest lines including Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line already have cancelled all or most sailings through the end of September. Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess are the first of the majors to cancel a wide swath of sailings until November and beyond.

While many major lines have pushed back their return to operations until at least October, a few lines are hoping to resume sailings in select areas around the world earlier. Indeed, a handful of lines — mostly river lines — already have restarted sailings in Europe. For now, the trips only are available to local travellers from select European countries.

Related: Cruise giant Carnival to be a smaller line when cruising resumes 

The restart to some cruising in Europe comes in the wake of a sharp drop in coronavirus case counts across the continent over the past few months. Germany this week has been recording fewer than 800 new confirmed cases a day — a tiny fraction of the number recorded in the U.S.

Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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