Carnival Cruise Line announced mass cancellations in addition to revealing its plans to resume service in North America on August 1 using a “phase-in” approach.
According to a CNN report, that means all North American cruises from June 27 to July 31 will be cancelled.
The announcement of plans to resume operations in August came “despite dozens of deaths on cruise ships during the COVID-19 pandemic and investigations into the industry’s possible role in spreading the disease around the planet”.
A statement by the cruise line said Carnival will only be sailing from three ports: Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida and Galveston, Texas.
“We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests,” the company said in a news release Monday.”
The CDC has issued repeated warnings that cruise travel has spread the coronavirus outbreak around the world.
The US Congress also announced an investigation of Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company – Carnival Corporation – over why it did not act sooner to protect passengers and staff.
In response, the CDC said it had not discussed timelines for resuming cruise travel with any operators, adding “we do not have enough information to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume sailing”.
Dozens of people have died and more than 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 infections have been recorded in connection with Carnival’s ships, which saw major outbreaks on the Diamond Princess and the Ruby Princess.
Carnival Cruise Line said it was “committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the Covid-19 situation” while announcing the limited resumption of its North America operations.
The CDC no-sail order was first issued on March 14 amid rising concerns about how “cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit, or spread COVID-19”.
The order was extended for 100 days on April 15 until July 24, prohibiting travel until the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a public health emergency or the CDC modifies the order based on specific public health advice.
In terms of dollars and cents, that translates into $60 million in lost economic revenue, based on the estimated loss of $45 million that would have been spent on island by cruise ship passengers.
That’s in addition to the $15.5 million in government revenue through departure passenger tax and infrastructure taxes.
Other cruise operators with ships making regular visits to Bermuda, who have previously announced cancellations, include Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.