Cruises may be shorter than ever in 2021, but trips are being booked now.
After an intense year of confinement, going out and seeing the world is on most people’s minds. Many cruise itineraries will last a week or less.
Carnival Cruise Line threatened to pull its ships from US waters on Tuesday after canceling all additional cruises leaving US ports through June 30.
“While we have made no plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships out of our home ports in the US, we may have no choice but to do so to resume our operations that have been on ‘pause’ for more than one year, “Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement provided by spokesman Vance Gulliksen.
Carnival has 14 homeports along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, Gulliksen said.
“We remain committed to working with the Administration and CDC to find a viable solution that best serves the interests of public health,” Duffy said in the statement, adding that Carnival calls for “the cruise industry to be treated on par. “with other sectors of the travel industry” as well as American society in general. “
The threat comes on the heels of new guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday detailing the second phase of its Conditional Shipping Order, which the cruise industry had lobbied the agency to lift the last week.
Although there was new information on the benchmarks that cruise lines must reach before transporting paying passengers again, it was not reported when the cruise will be able to restart in US waters.
One year without a cruise: There is no ‘crystal ball’ to say when navigation could be restarted amid COVID-19
The cruise industry has been closed in US waters since March last year, while other sectors have been allowed to continue operating or reopen with health and safety modifications, including airlines and theme parks.
But more than a year later, there is no “crystal ball” that can tell when navigation might restart, he said. Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade group.
“I couldn’t begin to speculate as to why the cruise industry is holding back in a way that other industries are not,” Craighead told USA TODAY in February.
Other cruise lines have already taken steps to move their ships to other parts of the world in order to resume operations.
On Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its official return to service would begin in July in Europe and the Caribbean. And last month, Royal Caribbean International announced travel in Israel, Bermuda and the Bahamas and its sister line, Celebrity Cruises, added itineraries to St. Maarten, all with specific vaccine requirements.
Carnival said it is notifying guests whose cruises have been canceled and is providing options for a future cruise credit with additional onboard credits or a full refund.
Plan B: Norwegian Cruise Line to resume sailing in Europe and the Caribbean in late summer