In a move that was not unexpected, but certainly disappointing, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International joined Norwegian Cruise Line in cancelling all cruises through the month of October. Royal Caribbean updated their website to reflect the change while Carnival sent a press release to media members this morning. The decision was due to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) voluntarily suspending cruises from U.S. ports past the return date of October 1st set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of U.S. ocean-going cruise operations to Oct. 31,” said Bari Golin-Blaugrund, the senior director of strategic communications for CLIA.
Putting Guests First
In the announcements from each cruise line, one theme echoed over all – guests come first.
From Royal Caribbean International’s website:
At Royal Caribbean International, our guests and crew’s safety and well-being are always our top priorities. After further consulting with our partners at Cruise Lines International Association and in conjunction with the CDC, we have decided to extend the suspension of sailings for our global fleet for all sailings through October 31st, 2020.
From Carnival’s press release:
Consistent with the decision announced today by the members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to voluntarily extend the pause in U.S. cruise embarkations until Oct. 31, 2020, Carnival Cruise Line has informed guests and travel advisors that we have cancelled all cruises scheduled to embark between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31.
We thank our guests for their continued patience and support as we work through these difficult decisions. When the time is right, our terrific onboard team will be waiting to welcome our guests back to give them the great vacation they deserve.
Credits for Future Sailings
Both cruise lines are giving guests the option to rebook with future cruise credit, but that’s a small consolation for cruisers who are sick of waiting to get back on board their favorite cruise ships. Royal Caribbean is offering their Lift & Shift promotion where guests can get the same pricing on cruises in 2021 (conditions apply) and Carnival enhanced value package of a future cruise credit and onboard credit, or a full refund.
So, We’re Cruising November 1st?
Not so fast. Since March, the CDC has been in full control over whether or not cruise ships sail. Cruisers and their favorite cruise lines are entirely at their mercy. Our best guess? That date of November 1st is flimsy at best. Thanks to news of positive cases on board European cruise ships with enhanced cleaning and screening procedures, many are feeling skeptical about the United States being ready to handle cruising by the fall. A better target date would be 2021 or after a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available.
Were you booked to cruise in October? Let us know in the comments!