Cruise Lines International Association has announced that its ocean-going members have agreed to suspend United States cruise operations until at least October 31st.
Lines had hoped to return on September 15th, but the lingering impact of Covid-19 travel restrictions has made the date unfeasible.
The United States Centres for Disease Control & Prevention also had a ‘no-sail’ order in place until the end of September, meaning no ship can sail in American waters.
A CLIA statement said: “This is a difficult decision as we recognise the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry.
“However, we believe this proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior.
CLIA said it would continue to monitor the situation, and mooted the earlier restart of short, modified sailings.
According to the most recent economic impact study from the body, cruise activity in the United States supports nearly half a million American jobs and generates $53 billion annually in economic activity throughout the country.
Each day of the suspension of United States cruise operations results in a loss of up to $110 million in economic activity and 800 direct and indirect American jobs.
The impact of the suspension is particularly profound in states that depend heavily on cruise tourism, including Florida, Texas, Alaska, Washington, New York and California.
Confirming the cancellation, Royal Caribbean said in a statement: “The health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit is our top priority.
“As we work with the CDC and others toward this shared goal, Royal Caribbean Group will be extending the suspension of sailings to include those departing on or before October 31st - excluding sailings from China and Australia.
“We will be reaching out to our guests and travel partners to share further details and address any questions or concerns they may have.”