U.S. Cruise Industry Voluntarily Extends No-Sail Order Through September amid Pandemic

A conglomerate of leading cruise lines are voluntarily extending the no-sail period during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Friday, Cruise Lines International Association — a leading cruise industry trade association that accounts for major companies like Carnival, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises — announced that its members chose to continue the suspension of operations from U.S. ports until at least Sept. 15.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent no-sail order is set to expire on July 24.

"Although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States," said CLIA in a press release.

The suspension affects all member vessels with the capacity to carry 250 or more travelers. According to CLIA, the industry leaders will "continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary."

"Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crew members," read the CLIA statement.

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The association said the extra time will "allow us to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations."

"CLIA cruise line members are using this time to explore new ideas and concepts to further enhance already stringent public health protocols and policies," a CLIA spokesperson told USA Today, which was first to report the news. "Additionally, caring for and repatriating crew members is the number one priority for CLIA cruise line members right now."

The representative also told the outlet that CLIA wants "the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms that when we do resume operations in the U.S., it will be with the confidence that we have the necessary protocols and systems in place, and that we have done so with the input of the CDC."

On Friday, a CDC spokesperson told USA Today that "at this point in time, we do not have enough information to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume sailing."

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