Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian push off cruise return until 2021 

Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian push off cruise return until 2021 

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, announced Tuesday that its North American cruise line brands will extend their existing pause in operations through to December 31, 2020.

The move follows similar measures by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Group after last week’s announcement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it was lifting its No-Sail Order and cruises could return subject to a number of conditions.

“Our highest responsibility and top priorities are always compliance, protecting the environment, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, the people in communities we touch, our crew and shoreside employees,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

“We continue to work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and global government and public health authorities, as well as top medical and science experts around the globe, on a comprehensive plan for the eventual restart of cruising in North America. With their collective guidance, we have developed and continue to update our enhanced health and safety protocols that are in the best interest of our guests, crew and overall public health. Whenever we restart our cruise operations in the U.S., we certainly look forward to welcoming our guests on board.”

Carnival, which operates Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard North America, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn from North American waters, said the date for restarting cruise operations would be communicated by each respective brand.

Cruises only likely to return in February
Cruises only likely to return in February
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Cruises only likely to return in February 

While the Big Three cruise companies have all now pushed off sailings through December 31, 2020, UBS analyst Robyn Farley wrote in a note yesterday that they will have to meet requirements for testing, simulated voyages, and risk mitigation before they can actually start sailing again with passengers – and that he said was not likely before February.

“Bottom line is that cruise lines will not be able to offer passenger cruises in December, but January seems possible, though February more likely, in line with what the CDC was reportedly already targeting,” Farley said.  

Yesterday, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, also  announced an extension of its global cruise voyages through December 31, 2020 for its three cruise brands. 

Quantum of the Seas will still sail from Singapore

Norwegian said it would continue to “work in tandem with global government and public health authorities and its Healthy Sail Panel expert advisors to take all necessary measures to protect its guests, crew and the communities visited.”

Royal Caribbean said in a press release yesterday that it was continuing to work with the CDC and others toward a “healthy return to service for our guests, crew and the communities we visit” and that it was also extending its suspension of sailing through to the beginning of next year, with the exception of the Quantum of the Seas, which is due to sail this year from Singapore

In a statement to travel agents, Royal Caribbean said it would use time afforded by the suspension to meet the CDC guidelines. 

“We are eager to welcome our guests back onboard while keeping their safety, as well as that of our crew members, our number one priority. We’re committed to taking the time needed to do things right

Royal Caribbean using time to train staff in health protocols 

“We plan to utilize this time to thoroughly train our staff and crew on oure nw health and safety protocols, while also conducting a number of trial sailings to stress-test these measures in real-world conditions.

“We will continue to work closely with the CDC and the Healthy Sail Panel as we take this next step and solidify our action plan.”

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