Over the past few days, several cruise ship operators have announced extensions to their announced shutdowns in the wake of COVID-19.
For example, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) announced yesterday that it would not be resuming operations until mid-May. Other Carnival Corp brands, including Cunard Line, Holland America Line, and P&O Cruises, are also targeting the same time scale to resume cruising.
CCL also decided to suspend all Australian sailings with ‘Carnival Splendor’ until 15th June, 2020, which is in line with Australian Government directives and in support of management and containment efforts in the region, the company said.
Earlier, another Carnival subsidiary, Princess Cruises, said it would also suspend sailings until mid-May, while MSC Cruises announced that it is cancelling sailings until at least to 29th May, a month longer than first predicted.
In addition, last week, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced that its brands would not be resuming their operations until about 12th May, while Disney Cruise Line is looking at the end of April for a resumption of service.
Viking has stated that all of its deepsea and river cruises will be suspended to 30th June and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said that its brands will not start operations until 10th May at the earliest.
Elsewhere, Dream Cruises has cancelled its entire 2020/2021 Australian season with the ‘Explorer Dream’.
Several ports and countries have also announced a ban on cruise ship operations.
For example, the Port of Seattle said that the launch of the 2020 cruise season will be delayed until the current public health emergency is resolved.
“The loss and impact of these sailings will ripple through the tourism industry and our regional economy. However, we understand the Port of Seattle’s hard but necessary decision,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle president and CEO. “We appreciate the Port’s commitment to re-evaluate the 2020 cruise season as the situation evolves, and Visit Seattle will help lead the economic recovery and work in tandem with the Port of Seattle.”
Each Seattle homeport sailing creates about $4 mill in regional business activity, according to the port, which translates into nearly $900 mill in Washington state over the course of the season. The industry supports an estimated 5,500 jobs in Washington.
At the state level, Washington has closed down non-essential businesses and banned large gatherings in order to limit the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, Canada had earlier announced that the country had closed its ports to large cruise ships through 1st July, thus creating legal problems for cruise operations between Seattle and the popular Alaskan ports.
US cabotage laws require foreign-flag passenger ships to make at least one call in a foreign (eg, Canadian) port during each coastwise itinerary, industry sources explained.