Looking forward to two weeks at sea onboard a cruise ship while you enjoy life? Well, those long cruises could well be put on the back burner for now.
A combination of the uncertain border and port access due to ever-changing health regulations, continued uncertainty about airline travel, and the advice from the CDC to stop cruises that are over 7-days long through November 1, 2021
The CDC has said in its framework, presented to the cruise lines at the beginning of November:
“The cruise ship operator must not sail or offer to sail on an itinerary longer than seven days. CDC may shorten or lengthen the number of days permitted to sail based on public health considerations and as outlined in technical instructions or orders.“
Although this advice is only for voyages leaving from U.S. ports, the cruise lines are applying this now to other voyages as well.
Princess, Holland America, and Carnival Cancel Cruises
Reacting to the uncertain conditions that govern the industry currently, Princess cruises have already decided to cancel its World Cruise onboard Island Princess and repositioning cruises from Australia to South America, including its circle South America Cruise.
Holland America Line has followed suit. The Seattle-based cruise line, which includes Ultra Luxury brand Seabourn Cruise Line, has temporarily stopped selling all cruises eight days and longer, calling upon a U.S. port and departing January 1 through November 1, 2021.
The interruption in sales is a reaction to the framework presented by the CDC, of which November 1, 2021, is the end-date:
“Holland America Line has reviewed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Framework for Conditional Sailing and is seeking additional clarification to understand the requirements fully.”
Carnival Cruise Line has stopped sales of any voyages longer than 7-days, which call in the U.S.
The company feels it needs to see how the CDC’s framework will interfere with its operations and how guests would be affected. While most Carnivals voyages are 7-days or less, the line does have regular sailings that are longer than 7-days.
The cruise lines advise on their websites that all guests booked on voyages with Princess, Holland America, and Carnival will need to stand by for more information regarding their voyages or contact their travel agents or respective cruise line.
Will Long Voyages Be A Thing Of The Past?
With ever-changing policies regarding travel worldwide, it would be surprising to see many voyages taking place longer than 7-days.
Voyages with different start and-end points could also be a thing of the past for 2021 as Princess is showing with the cancellation of its world cruise. While cruise lines can be prepared to do Covid testing of all passengers in a single terminal and have the workforce present in places like the U.S. and Europe, whether that is the same in other countries remains to be seen.
Doing COVID testing means companies need massive resources to test thousands of crew and passengers in a single day and have the results available within hours. It would be unlikely that cruise will be able to set this up in multiple locations.
Although TUI has found a middle ground with its longer voyages in the Canary Islands, which might be a solution for smaller vessels, this setup will not work for all cruise lines and demographics.
For now, we wait and see where we will stand in a few weeks or months. Pfizer’s news on an available vaccine is undoubtedly a welcome aspect and something the cruise lines will eagerly await. When this vaccine is implemented worldwide remains to be seen.