Cruise giant Carnival cancels most sailings through the end of the year
Cruise giant Carnival on Thursday offered a first glimpse of its plans to resume sailings in North America, saying it initially would bring back voyages out of just two ports in Florida: PortMiami and Port Canaveral.
The announcement came just hours after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it only would extend its “no-sail” order for cruise ships through the end of October, paving the way for a resumption of cruising in North America as early as Nov. 1.
“While operations from Miami and Port Canaveral in November and December are still not certain, Carnival is focusing its initial return to service from those two home ports, whenever that might occur,” the Miami-based line said in a statement.
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As part of the announcement, Carnival said it had canceled all November and December sailings from all other U.S. home ports through the end of the year.
Carnival had previously only canceled sailings through the end of October.
The new cancellations amount to the majority of Carnival’s schedule for November and December.
Executives at Carnival and other cruise lines have said repeatedly in recent months that the resumption of cruising will happen gradually, with just a few ships resuming service initially. But the extent of the additional cancellations announced by the line on Thursday is likely to take cruisers by surprise.
Many cruisers had expressed hope at cruise line fan pages on Facebook and elsewhere in recent weeks that a significant amount of cruising could resume before the end of the year.
With 21 of its 23 ships based all or most of the time in North America, Carnival is the largest cruise operator in the region. It sails from 18 home ports in North America, including New York City; Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Port Canaveral and Miami in Florida; Galveston, Texas; New Orleans; Long Beach, California; and Seattle.
In its announcement, Carnival suggested the November and December sailings out of Miami and Port Canaveral that it is leaving on its schedule are still a bit up in the air.
“Cruises currently scheduled for November and December from those two home ports will remain in place for the time being while Carnival evaluates options,” the line said.
Given the uncertainty, the line said it would allow customers booked on November and December sailings out of Miami and Port Canaveral to cancel their trips for a full refund without penalty. Customers who want to cancel alternately can choose a combination of a future cruise credit and an onboard credit.
These are the same terms that Carnival is offering passengers on the November and December sailings at other ports that it is canceling.
Carnival said it was continuing to work on health and safety initiatives that it would implement on ships when it returns to service.
“The patience and support of our guests and travel agent partners have been a huge motivation to our team as we have worked through this unprecedented situation,” Carnival president Christine Duffy said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We are dedicated to getting back to operations when the time is right.”
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Featured image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
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