It hasn’t been a great year for the cruise industry.
In the early months of 2020, major cruise lines were forced to cancel their trips due to the coronavirus pandemic. As global numbers started to fall, it looked like things could look up for cruise companies. However, as COVID-19 cases spike again, it may be a while before cruises hit the high seas once again.
Royal Caribbean recently announced that it would be suspending sales of trips that are scheduled to last longer than seven days, Cruise Hive reports, currently set for Jan. 1 to Nov. 1, 2021.
The decision was made in response to the recently issued Framework for Conditional Sailing Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) which details a phased approach for cruise lines to safely return to cruising.
In a statement shared with the outlet, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean explained, “In the order, the CDC outlines that cruise lines are no longer able to sail itineraries that are longer than 7 nights and call on a U.S. port. This affects sailings between Jan. 1 and Nov. 1, 2021. To ensure compliance, we have temporarily paused the sale of such cruises as we evaluate options and determine the necessary itinerary updates or changes.”
“We expect to have more information in the coming weeks and will be in touch with you once we have updates to share. Thank you for your continued patience and loyalty during this extraordinary time.”
The cruise line was contacted for further comment.
According to guidance posted on the CDC’s “COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel” web page, the agency recommended avoiding travel on cruise ships and river cruises. This news comes only a few weeks after the CDC lifted a no-sail order in the U.S. for cruise ships.
In a statement, the CDC cited the risk for infection on cruise ships as “very high,” further urging travelers with “increased risk for severe illness” to avoid cruises altogether.