Cruise industry looks to be grinding to a global halt

The major cruise lines announced on Friday March 13th that with immediate effect they would halt US sailings for at least the next 30 days in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Trade organization CLIA’s president and CEO Kelly Craighead said that “CLIA cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the US as we work to address this public health crisis. 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 cruise lines suspended include Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Cunard and Seabourn, all owned by Carnival Corp; Disney Cruise Line; Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, all owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea, owned by Royal Caribbean Ltd, and MSC. About 75 vessels will be affected.

Other companies that have suspended at least some of their operations are:

Saga Cruises has temporarily suspend ocean cruises onboard Saga Sapphire and Spirit of Discovery from March 15th to May 2020.

The Scenic Group (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises, Evergreen Cruises & Tours) has cancelled all sailings through to April 30th.

Uniworld announced it had suspended European river itineraries through to April 23rd.

AmaWaterways said it would cancel all of its Europe river cruises through to April 25th.

Celestial Cruises has suspended all operations until May 1st.

Windstar Cruises has halted all global operations from March 14th until April 30th.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said on Friday that PortMiami would waive berthing fees for home-ported vessels for at least the next 30 days. “Our cruise partners have our full support,” he said.

Viking and Fred. Olsen announced the day before that they would be suspending operations. Virgin Voyages announced it would delay its highly anticipated launch, originally planned for later this month, to August.

The decision of the lines was undoubtedly helped by the fact that an increasing number of ports worldwide were no longer permitting cruise ships to dock.

On Friday the Canadian government announced cruises carrying at least 500 passengers would be temporarily banned from its ports.

Seatrade, the industry’s largest annual gathering, announced on Friday that it would postpone its Miami Beach conference, scheduled for late April.

Show organizers Seatrade Cruise Global wrote said that “up until recently, the majority of industry feedback indicated that we should try to continue with the event as scheduled if possible”, but global travel bans and recently announced restrictions against large gatherings in Miami-Dade meant that the organizers had no option but to reschedule.

PortMiami expects its final ships for weeks to dock between Saturday and Tuesday. Once the Oceania Sirena docks Tuesday, the port expects its cruise docks to shut down for 30 days.

The global reaction had seen port authorities worldwide suspending cruise ship calls.

Singapore ceased port calls for all cruise ships with immediate effect, the MPA Singapore said on Friday. It will also block entry or transit for visitors with travel history to Italy, France, Spain, and Germany within the last 14 days, effective from Sunday March 15th.

The Government of India said the same day that no cruise ships from any foreign destination would be allowed to call at Indian ports until March 31.

The Spanish government prohibited the entry of passenger ships from Italy as well as cruise ships of any other origin destined for Spanish ports, from March 13th until at least March 26th.

The Spanish government said it would allow docking to cruise ships that have already been given clearance for the disembarkation of its citizens.