CLIA agrees to temporary halt of cruising from U.S. ports

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CLIA agrees to temporary halt of cruising from U.S. ports
Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

CLIA on Friday said its cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the U.S. for 30 days, starting March 14, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CLIA CEO Kelly Craighead called the temporary halt of cruising “an unprecedented situation.” CLIA chairman Adam Goldstein said it was a decision not taken lightly.

“We want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms the commitment of this industry to putting people first,” said Goldstein. “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.”

President Donald Trump tweeted about the agreement to end cruising temporarily, saying, “At my request, effective midnight tonight, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and MSC have all agreed to suspend outbound cruises for thirty days. It is a great and important industry -- it will be kept that way!”

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. on Saturday also it has decided to suspend sailings of its global fleet starting at midnight. All cruises that are in progress will conclude as scheduled. The company said it would “assist our guests with their safe return home.” RCCL expects to resume sailings on April 11.

Commenting on the halt of U.S. cruising, RCCL said that it is reaching out to guests and crew members. “We know this adds great stress to our guests, employees and crew, and we are working to minimize the disruption.”  

In a statement, MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said, “This is not a decision we took lightly but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore -- including our employees and their families -- must come first.” 

In a statement, NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio said, “We understand the inconvenience that this disruption may cause our guests and travel partners during these quickly evolving and challenging times, and we appreciate their understanding as we partner with local, state, federal and global agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

Other cruise lines that had previously announced paused operations because of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak include Princess, Viking, Disney and Windstar.

Also, the biggest trade event in the cruise industry, Seatrade, canceled its April conference in Miami. It hasn't rescheduled yet.

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