CLIA Announces Voluntary Suspension of Cruise Operations from U.S. Ports
Below is the text of a press release from CLIA – Cruise Lines International Association, outlining a voluntary suspension of cruising by ocean-going vessels from US ports. Cruise lines that may have voyages impacted include Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Croisi Europe, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Silversea, and Virgin Voyages. We’ve also included a frequently asked questions section at the conclusion of the release. You can visit our COVID-19 Cancellations & Changes page for the latest updates by brand.
WASHINGTON, DC (19 June 2020)—Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued the following statement today to announce that the association’s ocean-going cruise line members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations from U.S. ports until 15 September 2020.
“Due to the ongoing situation within the U.S. related to COVID-19, CLIA member cruise lines have decided to voluntarily extend the period of suspended passenger operations. The current No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on 24 July, and although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States.
“Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crewmembers. We have therefore decided to further extend our suspension of operations from U.S. ports until 15 September. The additional time will also allow us to consult with the CDC on measures that will be appropriate for the eventual resumption of cruise operations.
“This voluntary suspension applies to all CLIA members to which the No Sail Order applied (vessels with capacity to carry 250 persons or more). CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary.”
In 2018, the cruise industry supported over 421,000 jobs in the United States, with every 30 cruisers from U.S. ports supporting one American job. Each day of the suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. results in a total loss of approximately $110 million in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs. For more information about the economic impact of the cruise industry in the United States, including the top ten states benefitting from cruise activity, please visit: CLIA 2018 Economic Analysis.
About the Cruise Lines International Association The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. On behalf of the industry, together with its members and partners, the organization supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment, as well as promote positive travel experiences for the more than 30 million passengers who cruise annually. The CLIA community includes the world’s most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services. The organization’s global headquarters are located in Washington, DC, with regional offices located in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. For more information, visit www.cruising.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Until when are CLIA cruise lines voluntarily suspending U.S. passenger operations?
CLIA ocean-going cruise lines made the decision on 19 June 2020 to voluntarily extend the ongoing suspension of U.S. passenger operations until 15 September 2020. CLIA member cruise lines will continually evaluate the evolving situation and make a determination as to whether a further extension is necessary.
Which cruise ships are affected by the voluntary suspension?
The voluntary suspension applies to all CLIA members to which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) No Sail Order applies (vessels with capacity to carry 250 persons or more).
Why did CLIA cruise lines voluntarily decide to extend the suspension of passenger operations from the United States?
The current No Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will expire on 24 July, and although we had hoped that cruise activity in the U.S. could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States.
Why not wait for the CDC to provide an update on the current No Sail Order? Health and safety is the top priority for CLIA cruise lines, and it is clear that extending the suspension of U.S. passenger operations is the right thing to do at this time.
What is the significance of this decision for CLIA members? CLIA cruise lines take this situation very seriously, and we want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms that when we do resume operations in the U.S., it will be with the confidence that we have the necessary protocols and systems in place, and that we have done so with the input of the CDC, our regulatory partner in the United States.
Will passenger operations resume in other countries prior to the United States?
We expect cruises in some markets are likely to resume in a gradual, phased-in manner, since the virus is at different stages in different parts of the world. At least in some regions, the first cruises that depart are likely to be shorter voyages and more limited itineraries. Cruise lines remain actively engaged with our partners at the local, national and international levels to facilitate alignment and inform cruise industry protocols as they advance through the planning process.
What is the economic impact of the suspension of cruise operations in the United States?
Cruise activity supports multiple sectors of the U.S. economy, from ground and air transportation to food and beverage, lodging, manufacturing, agriculture, travel agencies, ports, hotels, professional services, and a broad range of supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States, the vast majority of which are small businesses.
Here are some additional facts about the economic impact of the cruise industry and the impact of the ongoing suspension of passenger operations:
- In 2018, the cruise industry generated $53 billion in economic activity in the United States and supported over 421,000 American jobs.
- Every 30 cruisers from U.S. ports support one American job.
- The top 10 states benefitting economically from the cruise industry include:
- o Florida
- o California
- o Texas
- o New York
- o Alaska
- o Washington
- o Georgia
- o Illinois
- o New Jersey
- o Louisiana
- Each day of the suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. results in a total loss of approximately $110 million in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs.
- Through the end of August, we estimate that the suspension of cruise passenger operations will result in a total economic loss of $20.42 billion in economic activity and over 134,000 American jobs.
For more information about the economic impact of the cruise industry in the United States, including the top ten states benefitting from cruise activity, please visit: CLIA 2018 Economic Analysis.
When did CLIA cruise lines first voluntarily suspend passenger operations? CLIA cruise lines responded swiftly to this unprecedented global crisis based on the information that was available, and under the guidance of prevailing health authorities. This culminated in the voluntary suspension of worldwide cruise passenger operations in mid-March, immediately following the WHO’s pandemic declaration.
What are cruise lines doing during the suspension in passenger operations? During the voluntary suspension of passenger operations, CLIA cruise line members are using this time to explore new ideas and concepts to further enhance already stringent public health protocols and policies. Additionally, caring for and repatriating crewmembers is the number one priority for CLIA cruise line members right now, especially in light of the complexities involved due to travel restrictions and differing policies and approaches imposed by local and national governments around the world. Finally, with passenger operations suspended, CLIA member cruise lines are exploring various ways to give back during this time, including giving food donations and making ships available for care and excess housing.
What changes are cruise lines considering for future operations?
The cruise industry is taking a holistic approach to planning for COVID-19 safety in the future. One theme that continues to emerge in these conversations is the concept of a “door-to-door” strategy, beginning at the time of booking through the return of passengers to their homes.
The cruise industry is also exploring more robust screening protocols, expanded cleaning and sanitation practices for ships and terminals, and comprehensive shipboard prevention, surveillance and response measures. Additional concepts that continue to be explored include:
- Enhanced screening of passengers and crew
- Appropriate distancing measures as required and appropriate at the time of resumption of operations
- Modified or eliminated buffets as necessary
- Potential solutions to challenges related to shoreside excursions, with the objective of helping to prevent the unintentional spread of the virus.
- Enhanced medical capabilities, in addition to the medical facilities and personnel already onboard (something that is unique to the cruise industry as it relates to travel/passenger transportation)
- Care and training of crew on all new and enhanced protocols
- Pre-arranged options for medical evacuations with consideration of impacts on local healthcare systems
What actions did CLIA cruise lines take in response to COVID-19? From the very beginning of this global public health crisis, CLIA cruise lines took immediate and aggressive action based on the best information available. Within 48 hours of the World Health Organization (WHO) announcing a public health emergency of international concern, CLIA member cruise lines introduced globally an enhanced set of protocols—including travel, contact and symptom screening—which were continually strengthened based on the guidance of prevailing health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the WHO, and others. Following the WHO’s pandemic declaration in mid-March, CLIA cruise lines acted swiftly to voluntarily suspend worldwide passenger operations, making the cruise industry one of the first and only industries to take such aggressive and proactive action.
Why do we know so much more about COVID-19 cases on cruise ships compared to other settings? Even though confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships account for a fraction of a percent of worldwide confirmed cases, the impact of COVID-19 on cruise lines has been in the spotlight over the past few months. This is understandable for many reasons—including the fact that cruising is a unique form of travel which appeals to a diverse cross section of people. Moreover, CLIA ocean-going cruise ships are subject to stringent reporting requirements and have credentialed doctors and nurses onboard, which is why so much more is known about the number of confirmed cases onboard cruise ships than cases in other settings, even though cruising is the smallest of any comparable travel or entertainment sector.
How do CLIA member cruise lines promote public health? Interestingly, ocean-going cruise ships are the only form of travel or passenger transportation that must be medically equipped to care for passengers or crew in the event of illness. As a condition of membership within CLIA, ocean-going cruise lines are required to fit their ships with medical facilities that meet the standards set forth by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which require that doctors and medical personnel be available onboard 24/7. Additionally, cruise ships must have an examination room, an intensive care room and equipment for processing labs, monitoring vital signs and administering medications.
How do CLIA cruise lines keep cruise ships clean and sanitary? Keeping cruise ships clean and sanitary is a top priority for CLIA member cruise lines. The industry has a longstanding collaboration with the CDC and The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to make sure ships meet strict sanitation guidelines. As part of the program, cruise ship crews are trained in sanitation and health practices and ships undergo unannounced inspections twice a year, with scores made available to the public. No other travel, tourism or entertainment industry has this type of federal program or oversight.
When it comes to cleaning procedures, crews clean and sanitize surfaces known for transmitting germs, multiple times throughout the day, such as handrails, door handles and faucets. At the end of a voyage and before a new one begins, ships are cleaned completely from top to bottom. CLIA cruise lines also help to educate cruise passengers on personal health and safety practices. Cruise passengers are reminded to wash their hands regularly and hand sanitizers are readily available in public locations. This may sound minor, but hand hygiene is critically important to protecting everyone on board.