Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled all cruises until the end of June, citing ongoing uncertainty over when the CDC and US transport officials will allow cruises to resume from US ports.
The move comes just days after Carnival ruled out a cruise restart in the Caribbean, with Christine Duffy, President & CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, now suggesting a Caribbean homeporting season may be unavoidable.
These comments were made amid a flurry of cruise lines announcing Caribbean homeporting itineraries, targeting the North American cruise market with fly-cruise packages from the Bahamas, St Maarten and Jamaica.
“We know that this is very disappointing to our guests who continue to be eager to sail, and we remain committed to working with the Administration and the CDC to find a workable solution that best serves the interest of public health,” said Duffy.
“We are asking that the cruise industry be treated on par with the approach being taken with other travel and tourism sectors, as well as U.S. society at large,” she added, referencing the CDC’s recent decision to allow fully vaccinated individuals to stay in hotels, take flights and use public transport.
In her statement, Duffy suggested that a Caribbean season might be on the cards after all, if the CDC does not change its stance by June.
“While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year,” said Duffy.
“We appreciate the continued patience and support from our loyal guests, travel advisors and business partners as we work on a return-to-service solution,” she added.
Booked guests and travel advisors are being notified directly of the cancellations and the options for a future cruise credit plus onboard credit package, or a full refund, according to Carnival.
To provide flexibility for guests booked on July itineraries that remain in the schedule, Carnival is extending final payment deadlines for all July sailings to May 31, 2021, with the ability to cancel without penalty.