Cruise: Holiday blow as another big-name cruise line axes more sailings

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Cruise holidays have faced a treacherous year of cancellations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Following last week’s ruling by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)to further extend its “no-sail” ban, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it will continue to suspend global operations.

The cruise line had hoped to resume voyages from November 1.

However, now the cruise holiday provider has axed all holidays between November 1 and November 30 for its three cruise brands.

These include Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The company says it will “continue to work in tandem with global government and public health authorities and its Healthy Sail Panel expert advisors to take all necessary measures to protect its guests, crew and the communities visited.”

Guest who are booked onto any affected cruises should contact their travel advisor or the company for details regarding their options moving forward.

According to Norwegian Cruise Line’s website: “Guests who had an active reservation on suspended cruises in November 2020 through March 2021 will automatically receive a refund of their cruise fare in the original form of payment for the amount paid within 25 days.

“Additionally, a 10 percent off coupon will be automatically added to the guest’s account which is valid for one year from date of issue, and can be used for any Norwegian Cruise Line voyage embarking through 2022 and is combinable with any FCCs and all future promotions at time of booking.”

Prior to the CDC’s latest ruling, Norwegian Cruise Line had joined forced with Royal Caribbean to develop the “Healthy Sail Panel”.

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This panel of cruise and health experts had devised an array of plans set to overhaul cruises and protect passengers and crew against the spread of COVID-19.

“We understand our responsibility to act aggressively to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew, as well as the communities where we sail, and we asked the panel to help us learn how to best live up to that responsibility,” Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group Richard D. Fain said in a statement.

Key areas highlighted in the plan, which was presented to the CDC, included:

  • Testing, screening and exposure reduction
  • Sanitation and ventilation
  • Response, contingency planning and execution
  • Destination and excursion planning
  • Mitigating risks for crew members

“We were inspired by the depth of the panel’s work and their determination to help us establish the strongest protocols in the travel industry.”

Yet, despite their hard work, the CDC felt the timing was not right to allow cruise holidays to resume.

The “no-sail” order has been extended throughout October.

It means that cruise ships that can carry more than 250 passengers in US waters are suspended.

It affects US and foreign cruise lines who hope to sail in US waters.

The CDC their decision was partially influenced by recent outbreaks on foreign cruise ships which had been allowed to resume.

They said: “Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas provide current evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,—even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities—and would likely spread the infection into US communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States.”

The CDC also said that cruises “would likely spread the infection into US communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States.”

In the UK, the FCDO also continues to advise against cruise ship holidays.

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