Citing inconsistencies in the interpretation of Covid-related cruise protocols, CLIA Brazil announced a voluntary suspension of operations in Brazilian ports through Jan. 21.
CLIA said that during the pause it will work on behalf of MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises to seek alignment with federal, state and municipal authorities on the interpretation of the operational health and safety protocols that were approved at the beginning of the cruise season in November.
CLIA warned that the season may be canceled in full if there is no alignment between parties.
The move came shortly after Anivsa, Brazil's health agency, warned people against boarding cruise ships after Covid-19 cases were found onboard and called for a "temporary interruption of the cruise ship season in Brazil."
In recent weeks, CLIA said, Brazilian authorities have forced MSC and Costa and their guests to make a number of last-minute changes "that have directly impacted ship operations, making cruise continuity impractical at this time."
"We are extremely concerned that the cruise industry's robust health and safety protocols, developed in partnership with the appropriate authorities and which have proven effective, are being questioned at a time that they should be held up as a model for others," CLIA said in a statement.
"It is very unfortunate that our cruise line members are being forced to make this decision in Brazil. However, it is important that there is harmony between the ship protocols and the agreements in place on land. We look forward to clarifying these agreements to assure a seamless plan between the companies and the authorities at all levels."
CLIA did not elaborate on what those changes were, but said that they were related to Covid protocols and that "the operational interruptions have failed to consider the effectiveness of the industry's protocols, and as a result have caused significant inconveniences to guests who were looking forward to their vacation at sea under the health and safety protocol."
The association said that the Covid-19 cases identified on cruise ships "consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard."
CLIA Brazil said it has started "urgent talks with institutions such as the ministries of health, tourism and infrastructure, and local authorities in states and municipalities where ships operate."
News from Brazil in recent days indicates that passengers have been held onboard ships that were being investigated by Brazilian health authorities.