Carnival Cruise Line announced this morning that it will continue its “operational pause” until at least Sept. 30. That’s 15 days longer than the guidance offered Friday afternoon by the industry’s trade group, Cruise Lines International Association, which extended its voluntary suspension of service until at least Sept. 15.
But if Covid-19 cases continue to rise—especially in Florida, where much of the industry is based—these deadlines may continue to shift.
“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. “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.”
This means the industry will be entering a self-imposed pause later this summer. Currently, there is a government-mandated No Sail Order in effect for the industry, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to lift its own ban on July 24.
This delay marks a shift from Carnival’s plans. The company had previously stated that it would like to have some ships in the water by Aug. 1, operating out of Texas and Florida. Last Monday, Carnival Corp. CEO and president Arnold Donald said protocols for the cruise line were still “evolving,” including testing capability and whether guests would have to wear masks aboard the ship.
Last week, Virgin Voyages laid out its own Covid-19 protocols, becoming the first major cruise brand to do so, going as far as to cut capacity on the brand’s inaugural cruise this October. Donald declined to say whether Carnival would do the same.