. Cruise Lines Once Again Extend Sailing Start-Up Dates | Northstar Meetings Group

Cruise Lines Once Again Extend Sailing Start-Up Dates

The U.S. cruise industry will continue to be shut down through spring 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Encore

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Updated Feb. 23, 2021

Major U.S. cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises, have again pushed their return to sailing further out, with the earliest trips scheduled in late April 2021.

These extensions follow a statement in early February by Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, who said cruise ships carrying 100 or more people will continue to be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until Feb. 28, 2022, citing the risk they pose to the country's health-care systems. Ships carrying more than 12 people also are still banned from entering Arctic coastal waters. According to Washington State's KIRO 7 news station, the move marks the second year in a row that Seattle’s roughly billion-dollar cruise season has been canceled, as ships leaving Seattle can't get to Alaska without crossing Canadian waters.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its no-sail order for ships operating in U.S. waters on Oct. 30, 2020, and went on to state that before resuming service, cruise lines must meet the requirements of its Conditional Sailing Order. The regulations detail a phased return to the seas designed to mitigate the risk of spreading Covid-19.

In its statement on the Conditional Sailing Order, the CDC had said it decided to drop the no-sail order because the new framework "enables cruise ships to operate if they are willing to take the necessary precautions to mitigate risk, while it continues to prohibit passenger operations on ships that have failed to implement such precautions. This framework allows for individual cruise lines to progress through phases at variable paces."

The first phase calls for testing and safeguards for crew members, "while these cruise-ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers." The next phase requires the cruise lines to operate test voyages to ensure that ships meet specific requirements and are able to minimize the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The agency has not issued any further direction for cruise lines since; as the pandemic continues, U.S. cruise lines have extended their operations suspensions again, as noted below. For further details, contact the operators directly.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival has paused service through May 31.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity has extended its sailing suspension through April 30.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has canceled sailings on the Disney Fantasy through April 24, the Disney Dream through April 30, the Disney Magic through May 9 and the Disney Wonder through May 12.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said all three of its brands would extend their suspensions through May 31.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean has suspended sailing of its global fleet through April 30.

Princess Cruises 

Princess Cruises has cancelled all cruises through May 14.

Virgin Voyages

The new cruise line has postponed the maiden sailing of the 2,700-passenger Scarlet Lady until May.