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The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that its members are voluntarily suspending operations out of US ports through September 15th, 2020. Its members include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise line and as CNBC notes, the extension goes beyond the CDC’s July 24th “no-sail” order. Carnival had previously announced it intended to resume operations in the US on August 1st.
The CLIA’s statement says in part that “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.” It’s reflective of the harsh reality that the US has not made as much progress as other countries in tamping down the spread of COVID-19.
On May 1st, Congress opened a probe into Carnival over its response to the novel coronavirus. Australia, too has opened an investigation. The cruise industry has been hit very hard by the pandemic, with many questioning whether it has responded appropriately.
Cruise line companies were not included in the March 27th stimulus package in the US. As Sean O’Kane noted back in March, the major companies that make up the cruise industry aren’t US-based, pay very little in US federal taxes, and have a terrible environmental record.
In a statement to USA Today, Caitlin Shockey, spokesperson for the CDC said that, “At this point in time, we do not have enough information to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume sailing.”