Following the official CDC extension of a suspension of sailing through October, Carnival Cruise Lines announced this morning cancellations of many cruises through the end of 2020.
The cancellations impact all cruises during November and December, outside of two ports — Miami and Port Canaveral.
“Following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) decision to extend its no-sail order for cruise operations, Carnival Cruise Line is notifying guests and travel agents that it has cancelled cruises from all U.S. homeports except Miami and Port Canaveral for November and December 2020,” the statement said.
While this makes it sound like the cruise line will finally resume service in November from the two major ports, even that is still up in the air.
“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 homeports, whenever that might occur.”
The statement continued, saying, “Cruises currently scheduled for November and December from those two homeports will remain in place for the time being while Carnival evaluates options. However, the cruise line is providing guests booked on cruises in November and December out of Miami and Port Canaveral the ability to voluntarily cancel their reservation and receive the same offer that all other impacted guests are receiving, which includes a combination future cruise credit and onboard credit, or a full refund.”
Which Ships Are Still Scheduled to Sail
Carnival mentioned months ago that it planned a gradual return to sailing, starting with a few ships. This should help the cruise line return to sailing in a more controlled way where new policies and procedures can be tested and tweaked to ensure healthy sailing. It also should provide more time for the cruise line to ramp up staffing across the dozens of ships in its fleet.
As for now, the scheduled sailings in November and December from Miami and Port Canaveral include trips aboard seven ships:
- Carnival Conquest
- Carnival Liberty
- Carnival Elation
- Carnival Sunrise
- Carnival Breeze
- Carnival Horizon
Even if the CDC lifts the current “No Sail Order” at the end of October and Carnival is ready to return to sailing, there are still obstacles to sailing with this trimmed-down schedule. Specifically, the ships must have the approval of their ports of call to sail there.
With many of these itineraries, there are multiple ports of call in multiple countries. For example, Carnival Breeze sails from Port Canaveral to Mexico, Belize, and Honduras in a single trip. Carnival Horizon has a cruise from Miami to Grand Turk, Aruba, and Curacao.
Given the health crisis, it’s possible these trips could have to be adjusted or cancelled if ports of call don’t allow the ships to dock given the pandemic.
As with all things related to this health crisis, it’s a game of “wait and see.” Obviously the industry has never faced a challenge this large, and the resumption of cruising involves lots of stakeholders including cruise lines, the U.S. government, foreign governments, and passengers.
Until the first ship actually leaves the dock, it’s difficult to know exactly when cruises will get back to sailing. This latest announcement from Carnival — and the doubt that seems evident — just reinforced that point.