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Carnival and NCL cancel more cruises: Is Royal Caribbean next?

In:
05Oct2020
By: 
Matt Hochberg

UPDATE: The answer is yes, Royal Caribbean has cancelled its November 2020 cruises.

In the days since the No Sail Order was extended, Royal Caribbean's primary competitors have each announced a new round of cancellations, so is Royal Caribbean next?

There has been no official word by Royal Caribbean on any new cancellations, but typically when one of the "big three" cruise lines has announced a new wave of cancelled cruises, the others have eventually followed suit.

Royal Caribbean currently only has cruises cancelled through October 31, 2020, although it has also canceled transatlantic, European and Australian itineraries beyond that date.

The dominos begin to fall

The first cruise line to announce changes was Carnival Corporation, when it canceled sailings from most ports through December 2020.

Carnival essentially cancelled all of its cruises, minus ships sailing from Port Canaveral and Miami in Florida. The line has not yet canceled November or December sailings from those two ports.

Earlier today, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. cancelled all of its cruises through November 2020, with three ships cancelled through the end of March 2021.

Both cruise lines made their announcements less than a week after the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) extended its No Sail Order through October 2020

An unconfirmed, but widely accepted, report claims the CDC wanted to extend the No Sail Order to February 2021.

Cruise line executives were scheduled to meet with White House officials last week, but the meeting was postponed.

What will Royal Caribbean do?

The big question is if/when Royal Caribbean may announce a new set of cancellations to match what the other cruise lines have done.

Royal Caribbean rarely gives any kind of warning when a new set of cancellations are going to occur, and there is no consistent pattern to when they have been announced.

Earlier today, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain offered a video update that did not specifically call out any new changes to its cruise schedule, but did allude to some recent news impacting the cruise industry.

"Soon, we hope to have the opportunity to put our plans to the test. It's not going to happen overnight. It is going to take time for this process to work through."

"The process will be carefully evaluated by independent outside observers and then only on a ship or two at first, we hope to start sailing again."

 

Cruise fans are quite eager to know what the cruise line will do, with many having sailings scheduled to depart in less than a month.

"It’s less than 30 days from November 1st, and based on prior cancellations by Royal, we should have had Royal’s decision about November (at the very least) by now," writes S.Marie. "I would even be ok with Royal saying we are still waiting for the green light from the CDC but here are the ships we plan to deploy (or not deploy) for our start up phase."

"If I was a cruise line," twangster postulated, "I'd be hesitant to begin bringing thousands of crew back for two ships until there was an absolute green light from the CDC or CV Task Force that a restart is a sure thing."

CJS2766 exemplified the concern so many seem to have, "I'm also one of those that's supposed to cruise Nov 8... I wish we would hear something already, even though I know the realistic outcome."