Canadian Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, has announced that Canada will extend its ban on large cruise ships until 31st October 2020.
This effectively ends this year’s Canadian cruising season and extends the ban that was announced in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed the ports until 1st July.
The ban applies to vessel carrying 100 pax or more and also includes passenger vessels that carry more than 12 persons from entering the Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast.
Beginning 1st July, Canada will allow passenger vessels to operate on its inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon and essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to operate using mitigation measures.
Canada’s decision will have an impact on neighbouring US ports, including Seattle, Boston, and Bar Harbor, Maine, which are also part of the seasonal cruise trade in the region.
As a result, Great Lakes and St Lawrence River cruise company Viking Cruise Lines has suspended all sailings for this year.
In addition, Australia’s ban on cruise ships berthing now extends to 17th September.
As for the other cruise operators, Cunard has announced that it has extended its pause in operations.
For example, ‘Queen Mary 2’ and ‘Queen Victoria’, all sailings that were due to depart up to and including 1st November, 2020 have been cancelled and ‘Queen Elizabeth’ departures up to and including the 23rd November.
Making plans to resume operations is Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
The company has announced plans to resume operations on 25th July, which if this comes to fruition, could make it the first deepsea cruise line to resume service after the global suspension of cruise operations in March, 2020.
Bahamas Paradise’s first cruise ship, ‘Grand Celebration’ will restart the line’s two-night cruises with many new restrictions designs to address guests concerns and the anticipated CDC regulations to ensure the health and safety of the passengers and crew.
The ship have her capacity reduced by 40% — to around 900 pax maximum — by limiting the number of available staterooms and excluding two passenger stateroom decks from being used.
Bahamas Paradise’ second ship, ‘Grand Classica’, is due to resume service on 3rd October.
Passengers will be required to maintain social distancing, undergo mandatory temperature checks, and answer health questionnaires. Staff with be wearing masks and behind plexiglass barriers, while the areas in the terminal will be frequently sanitised and all passenger luggage will be disinfected prior to on board delivery, the company said..
AIDA Cruises, has announced the cancellation of all US and Canadian port calls for the whole of 2020.
AIDA has also extended its shutdown in all other areas through 31st July.
Costa Crociere and MSC Cruises have announced further suspensions to 31st July, while Marella Cruises has suspended sailings to 30th July.
P&O Cruises has announced an extension to its shutdown until 15th October, 2020 as “it focuses on working in close co-ordination with all relevant public health bodies to approve further enhancement of the company’s already stringent health and safety protocols,” according to a statement.
In a video, P&O Cruises President, Paul Ludlow, said: “We are working with government and industry bodies at the highest possible level, such as Public Health England (PHE) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to review every aspect of a holiday with us and establish a framework of policies and procedures. Our aspiration is to be adopting best practice in managing COVID-19 within the travel industry.”
Viking Cruises has cancelled the rest of its summer cruise programme, extending the ban to the end of August, according to a letter sent by Torstein Hagen to Viking guests and on a video recording.
Taking a different approach, PONENT is offering cruises to the local French market only, starting in early July.
Elsewhere, the three-ship Pullmantur fleet will go into cold lay-up, while the Royal Caribbean subsidiary also announced the cancellation of its cruise programme until 15th November.
Princess Cruises said it had extended the shutdowns as follows:
• All cruises sailing in and out of Australia through mid-September.
• All cruises in and out of Vancouver and Seattle in September and October.
• Pacific and California Coast seven-day roundtrip cruises from San Francisco departing in September and October, 2020.
• All roundtrip cruises from Keelung, Taiwan, departing August, 2020 on Majestic Princess.