CLIA —the Cruise Line Industry International Association — announced yesterday that its ocean-going cruise lines will be voluntarily and temporarily suspending cruise ship operations from U.S. ports of call for 30 days as public health officials and the U.S. Government continue to address COVID-19.
The announcement came after several cruise lines had individually announced similar suspensions.
CLIA cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the U.S. as we work to address this public health crisis,” said Kelly Craighead, President and CEO, CLIA. “This is an unprecedented situation. Our industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working under the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exceptional vacation experiences for guests, as well as meaningful employment opportunities for crew. This has been a challenging time, but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible.”
The temporary suspension will take effect at 12:00AM EDT on 14 March 2020. CLIA ocean-going cruise lines are focused on the safe and smooth return of those currently at sea onboard ships that will be affected by this decision.
“We do not take this decision lightly, and we want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms the commitment of this industry to putting people first,” said Adam Goldstein, CLIA Global Chairman. “During this time, we will continue to work with the CDC and others to prepare for resumption of sailings when it is appropriate. We know the travel industry is a huge economic engine for the United States and when our ships once again sail, our industry will be a significant contributor to fueling the economic recovery.”
Guests who are booked on cruise itineraries which will be impacted by this decision are encouraged to contact their travel advisors or reach out to their cruise lines directly.
VIRGIN VOYAGES DELAYS SCARLET LADY DEBUT
Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages says it has made the very difficult decision to postpone the Showcase Tour launch and inaugural sailing season for its first ship, Scarlet Lady, until July 15, 2020, with its Maiden Voyage taking place August 7, 2020.
“The business is well supported and our partnership between the Virgin Group and Bain Capital means that Virgin Voyages can remain focused on the health and safety of our Sailors and Crew,” said a statement from Branson and Virgin Voyages president Tom McAlpin. (“Sailors” is what Virgin Voyages calls its passengers).
“We have absolutely no health issues aboard our ship and have elevated protocols in place as we continue to put your well-being first,” says the announcement, which adds that “Virgin Voyages is working with relevant parties to research new technologies that will help to expedite health screenings and make people feel safe. Developments are ongoing and the hope is to identify this opportunity over the course of the next month.”