The coronavirus pandemic has forced major cruise lines to halt operations out of the United States for almost an entire year, and likely through the majority of 2021 under the CDC’s latest Conditional Sailing Order. But some cruise lines appear optimistic that they’ll return to the water by summer.
Major cruise operators, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and MSC Cruises, are offering bookings for trips leaving Florida in the month of June, My News 13 reports. These trips are currently scheduled despite the Conditional Sailing Order, which requires cruise operators to complete a “framework of actionable items” before getting the green-light to resume. The Conditional Sail order also isn’t scheduled to expire until Nov. 1.
CDC WILL NOT LIFT CONDITIONAL SAILING ORDER EARLIER THAN NOVEMBER
According to spokespeople for at least two of these cruise lines, these June voyages are themselves conditional upon the CDC’s regulations.
“MSC Cruises is actively engaged and working to comply with the CDC and other the relevant health authorities’ requirements and guidelines in order to resume cruise operations out of U.S. ports in a safe and responsible way — similar to how MSC Cruises has restarted in other regions around the world — and will only do so when the time is right and following the appropriate approvals,” said a spokesperson for MSC Cruises in a statement shared with Fox News.
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Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines told Fox News, “We’re still in a pause in our guest operations through May 31. The timing for re-start in the U.S. continues to be uncertain. The industry – through our trade association CLIA – has asked the CDC to amend the conditional sail order and allow cruising to begin this summer. But in spite of some recent headlines, there is no change in status of our guest operations, and the CDC has not taken any action to cancel further cruises.”
The CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) had previously urged the CDC to rescind the order early, citing President Joe Biden’s pledge to have every American adult eligible for vaccination by May 1.
Carnival, meanwhile, has not yet made a decision to cancel its June itineraries from Florida. The cruise line says it remains optimistic that travel may resume by summer if Americans have widespread access to vaccines per President Biden’s timeline.
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“In the meantime,” the statement continues, “we know guests are eager to confirm their vacation plans and we are committed to providing them options. Guests booked for June may cancel without penalty. Final payment deadlines for June cruises have also been moved until April 30.”
The statement concludes, “We currently do not have plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships away from their U.S. homeports. We will continue to focus on returning to operations with our current homeport deployment.”
Fox News reached out to Royal Caribbean for comment, but representatives for the company did not immediately respond.