Carnival Cruise Line on Monday confirmed that it would extend its operational pause in North America through September 30, 2020.
The move follows the announcement last week by the Cruise Lines International Association that it would voluntarily extend its suspension of sailings from North America due to the COVID-19 situation.
Norwegian had already extended its suspension through to the same date prior to the CLIA announcement. Royal Caribbean has yet to state its plans.
“During this unprecedented pause in our business, we have continued to assess the operating environment and confer with public health, government and industry officials,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy told booked guests and travel agents in a letter sent Tuesday.
“We have watched with great interest as commerce, travel and personal activities have begun to start back up, and once we do resume service, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we bring our ships to in order to maintain public confidence in our business. Nevertheless, we apologize for disrupting your vacation plans and appreciate your patience as we work through these decisions,” Duffy said.
Carnival initially announced a voluntary 30-day suspension of operations on March 13, and has since extended that suspension three times.
Carnival said it would give guests who wish to move their booking to a later date a rebooking offer that combines a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) and either a $300 or $600 Onboard Credit (OBC).
The cruise line said guests also had the option to receive a full refund. However, cruise refunds have been notoriously slow during the COVID-19 crisis, with some passengers reporting delays of up to 90 days on some lines.
“We appreciate the patience and support of our loyal guests, and recognize how much they want to get back to cruising. When the time is right, our outstanding onboard team will be waiting to welcome them back and give them the great vacation that they deserve,” said Duffy.
Carnival last week announced a $4.4 billion loss for the second quarter, 2020 and said it would be retiring six ships within the next three months.