Royal Caribbean extends suspension of operations, amid CDC lawsuit

The Vision of the Seas
The Vision of the Seas (Source: Royal Caribbean International).

The cruise giant announced that it will be extending its hold on operations out of the United States.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

MIAMI — Royal Caribbean announced that it is following the trends of other major cruise lines by extending a hold on operations out of the United States. At the earliest, cruises won’t resume until July of 2021 because the industry considers the current unworkable framework to resume cruising safely to be a miss. The industry has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift its so-called unworkable framework on the Conditional Sailing Order.

“Safety is the first priority, and we know that cruising can be safe, as we have seen in Europe and Asia,” said Richard D. Fain, the chief executive officer and chair of Royal Caribbean Group, in a press statement.

“The rising number of Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, layered on top of the rigorous health and safety measures we are implementing under the Healthy Sail Panel’s guidance, enables us to create a safe environment to take a cruise,” Fain said. “We strongly believe that President Biden’s stated goal for society to reopen in time for Independence Day is a realistic goal.”   

The extension for sailing suspensions came out of US ports through June 30, 2021. This does impact call cruise brands owned by Royal Caribbean’s parent company, including Celebrity and Silversea. CDC issued updated guidance earlier, permitting the sailing of vaccinated passengers and crew with the necessary safety measures in place. The industry, however, sees it as too little, too late.

The state of Florida also sued the CDC earlier today, asking a federal district judge to lift the public health agency’s no-sail order and to issue recommendations for a rapid resumption of service officially.

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