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Coronavirus

Wall Street: CDC to blame for cruises not resuming sooner

In:
Category: 
18Jun2020

Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines have suspended all of their cruise ship sailings since March, and at least one Wall Street analyst thinks the delay in ships returning to service is the fault of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Instinet analyst Harry Curtis wrote in a note to clients that he thinks the problem with cruise ships not starting up again faster is not the fault of the company, but a bias on the part of the government.

"This issue is NOT that the industry has been passive in developing health protocols. Quite the contrary. In our view, the hurdle lies with the CDC’s unwillingness to discuss, debate and mutually implement the highest standards of passenger and crew health care." 

Curtis indicated the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has for many weeks, submitted suggestions for new protocols, but the CDC has shown “limited interest” in holding discussions about resuming cruises. Yet the company has little recourse but to wait for approval, as Curtis said the CDC has the power to impound or quarantine ships.  

"It would seem that the cruise industry, its passengers and employees have been viewed by the CDC in the same vein as meat packing plants, nursing homes and prisons. In our view, there is something unjust about such unilateral treatment."

While the cruise ships sit idly by, Las Vegas casinos, major theme parks, movie theaters, and water parks around the country are able to resume operations.

The airlines have been operating without impunity throughout the crisis.

According to Curtis, he estimates it could take three to six months for the CDC to respond to the cruise lines proposals.

On Tuesday, the CDC updated its website and stated they do not have enough information to say when it will be safe to resume sailing with passengers.

Royal Caribbean has not decided on any more cancellations following Norwegian Cruise Line announcement

In:
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17Jun2020

Norwegian Cruise Line announced on Tuesday it will extend its cruise cancellations through the end of September (minus Seattle-based ships), but Royal Caribbean has not made any decisions yet to follow suit.

Nearly as soon as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings made the announcement it would cancel all of its sailings through August 30th, 2020 and select cruises in September and October, many were wondering if Royal Caribbean would do the same.

During a webinar with travel agents, Royal Caribbean Account Executive Brittany Yochum commented on the news, saying that Royal Caribbean had no announcement to make at this time.

"I know that we have other lines that have obviously extended their cancellations and there are changes daily, and each line does look at the situation individually and makes their own decision. So we are constantly looking at this situation."

"As soon as we have an update on any sort of communications, we will be sure that you are the first to know, as you have been with a prior cancellation. So we are continually looking and just stay tuned for additional updates."

Royal Caribbean's current global cruise suspension expires at the end of July, with an August 1, 2020 date to resume operation for the majority of the fleet.

Since the cruise lines have shut down operations in March, the "big three" cruise lines of NCLH, Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have had a tendency to match each other with cruise cancellation announcements. While this pattern is far from an absolute guarantee, it has been the dominant pattern.

Thus far, Royal Caribbean has engaged in four separate phases of cruise cancellations, beginning in March.

Royal Caribbean's return to service depends largely on its work with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and in conjunction with the CDC.

One of RCCL's controlled cruise lines, SilverSea, has already pushed back its operations into September, October or November. Silver Explorer, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind will start sailing again at the earliest in the the second half of October or November. Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Muse and Silver Spirit have had their sail dates pushed back to September. Silver Origin and Silver Moon are now scheduled to debut on Aug. 22 and Oct. 2, respectively.

When will Royal Caribbean cruises resume?

The question every single cruise fan is asking is when will cruises resume again, and there are plenty of opinions out there.

I recently posed this question in a poll on Facebook, with the most popular vote being Q1 2021 with 36% of respondents feeling cruises will not resume this year (with another 5% thinking it will take until the second quarter of 2021).

Of course, Royal Caribbean has repeatedly said all of its ships will not resume operations at once. While the cruise line's plans are not completely certain, executives have commented they believe cruises will resume with just a handful of ships at first, with a phased approach to bringing the entire fleet back.

In these months without cruises, Royal Caribbean has been hard at work on putting together a plan that addresses a higher standard of health, safety, sanitation and medical care.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has said they want to have a good plan in place before starting back up.

"Well, I think we have said that we're not sure when we're coming back. We won't come back until we're absolutely sure that we've done everything we can to work to protect the safety of our guests and crew."

"We said when we we won't be back before the end of July, but we we haven't gone to the next step of saying we're absolutely confident that we're starting on August one."

"We will work with the authorities. We will work with all the experts that we have asked to help us on this, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our guests and crew."

CDC says it doesn't know when it will be safe to resume cruises

In:
Category: 
16Jun2020

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its website with a note that indicates the agency has no current regulations that apply to crew member repatriation will necessarily apply to passengers on ships, nor is it certain when sailings can safely resume.

The CDC website lists criteria for cruise ships that are repatriating crew members, and includes a number of requirements to safely get them home via commercial travel.  The CDC specifically mentions these rules do not apply to passengers onboard.

"Meeting these criteria does not mean cruise ships can resume passenger operations. We don’t have enough information at this time to say when it will be safe to resume sailing with passengers. Cruise lines may need to establish additional safety measures before sailing with passengers is permitted to resume. CDC will continue to evaluate and update its recommendations as the situation evolves."

In the meantime, the CDC indicated that all cruise ships must abide by the current No Sail Order and Interim Guidance During the Period of the No Sail Order.

Waiting on the new rules

Royal Caribbean has not released or announced what new regulations and safety policies will be in place once cruising resumes.  While the cruise line says it intends to resume operations on August 1, this has been a moving target that is expected by many to be subject to change.

Norwegian Cruise Line issued its own list of new safety protocols for guests once cruising resumes, but Royal Caribbean is still working on their procedures.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has stated they plan to announce soon health safety protocols written by a "blue ribbon panel of experts".

"Looking forward to restarting, health and safety are absolutely paramount as I've said before, what was fine just a few weeks ago is no longer adequate. Good enough just good enough. We need to raise the bar to new heights, and we have teams of doctors, of scientists, of epidemiologists, and teams of people who know our business, all looking hard and charting the safest and surest path forward that we can."

CDC rules for ships right now

While cruise ships are not sailing with passengers, the CDC has come up with a color-coded system for signifying each cruise ship's infection status.

  • Green: no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness for 28 days.
  • Yellow: one or more COVID-like illness cases pending confirmation.
  • Red: one or more cases of confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the past 28 days

When a cruise ship requests to repatriate crew with the use of commercial travel, the ship will need to ensure not only does it meet the green status, but cruise company officials must sign an acknowledgment of the completeness and accuracy of their response plan.

Currently nine Royal Caribbean International ships have the status of "Provisionally Green" while the cruise line's No Sail Order Response Plan status is under review/revision. Five additional Royal Caribbean International ships have the status "Provisionally Red".

Ship NameShip StatusCommercial Travel Allowed
Adventure of the SeasProvisionally Red^No
Anthem of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Brilliance of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Enchantment of the SeasProvisionally Red^No
Grandeur of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Harmony of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Independence of the SeasProvisionally Red^No
Liberty of the SeasProvisionally Red^No
Mariner of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Navigator of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Oasis of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Rhapsody of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Symphony of the SeasProvisionally Green*No
Vision of the SeasProvisionally Red^No

Information accurate as of June 15, 2020. Source: CDC

Provisionally Green means the ship meets the surveillance criteria for “Green” status, but the following have not been completed:

  • Review and revision of the cruise line’s No Sail Order response plan, or
  • Cruise line’s signed acknowledgement of a complete and accurate plan, or
  • Ship’s submission of a signed attestation to CDC for crew to travel commercially.

Provisionally Red means the ship meets the surveillance criteria for “Red” status, but the following have not been completed:

  • Review and revision of the cruise line’s No Sail Order response plan, or
  • Cruise line’s signed acknowledgement of a complete and accurate plan

Tourism opening up elsewhere

While the cruise lines are forced to adhere to CDC regulation and overview, other areas of tourism in the United States, and around the world, is in the process of reopening.

Notably, major theme parks in the United States and China are open, or in the process of opening up.

Universal Orlando re-opened select resort hotels and parks to guests last week. SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa re-opened on June 11. Walt Disney World and Disneyland will re-open in July, along with its theme parks in China resuming operations. 

Airlines have had absolutely no direct oversight into their operations, and bars, restaurants, fitness centers and movie theaters having permission to reopen in some US states.

Las Vegas also recently reopened, having their hotels and casino resuming operations.

More information

Five lessons I've learned from all these cancelled cruises

In:
Category: 
12Jun2020

Since Royal Caribbean started cancelling cruises in March, there has been a lot of changes across the cruise industry. Things we never thought we would see, have happened repeatedly.

With so much changing during this global cruise suspension, we have all had to adapt to new policies and procedures.  If fact, I have found some new strategies that have worked well, along with reminders of the importance of some other tried-and-true advice.

Here are the my top five lessons that the current cruise shutdown have taught me since this all began.

Always book refundable cruise fare

While Cruise with Confidence has added an incredible amount of flexibility for cancelling cruises, it seems there are a lot of people who simply want their money back, and quite often non-refundable deposits stand in the way of this, especially for cruises before final payment date.

In short, if you are going to book a cruise, be sure to book refundable fare.

The announcement this week that Allure of the Seas will not sail from Galveston is a great example of why having refundable cruise fare is such an advantage.  People found themselves stuck between being forced on Liberty of the Seas instead, or taking a future cruise credit.  For some people, this was a big problem because they wanted to cancel to change to a different sailing all together, or get their money back.  While Royal Caribbean reversed course and offered more flexible options, you cannot always count on a scenario like that.

While I usually booked refundable cruise fare even before the shutdown, I think now it is even more important to err on the side of caution and book refundable deposits whenever possible.

It is should be noted that there are situations where non-refundable cruise fare is unavoidable, such as with suites. In that case, there is not a choice, but if you have the option, I strongly recommend refundable deposits.

Travel insurance does not help much if the cruise never happens

An investment in travel insurance is never a bad idea, but it is important to always read the policy and know when the coverage applies. 

While it may seem like trip interruption coverage would apply for scenarios when cruises are cancelled, nearly every insurance company does not cover pandemics, so the policy did not apply.

I think many of us were hoping early on that travel insurance might cover non-refundable purchases associated with the trip, but that was not the case. Luckily, most travel providers ended up giving more flexible cancellation terms (such as the airlines), but the notion that travel insurance is a blanket policy to cover anything that gets in the way of your cruise is not exactly true.

A good travel agent is invaluable

I have been a proponent of using a good travel agent for years, and the rounds of cruise cancellations exacerbated the need for a good agent like never before.

All too often, I would see posts on social media from people upset about a variety of issues related to cancelled cruises. Refunds, future cruise credits, errors in reimbursement and trying to change dates were just some of the common areas where those without an agent were stuck on hold for hours to get a response.

Those of us that worked with travel agents generally had an easier time, because the agents were tirelessly working on our behalf.  Travel agents have been among the most hard hit during the cruise shutdown, as they only get paid commission by the cruise line after a client goes on their trip. Nonetheless, so many agents have worked very hard to stay and assist their clients.

While the old argument against using a travel agent of, "I prefer to manage it myself" may have been fine in the past, those managing it themselves were also dealing with relentless hold times and changing policies.

Cancel cruise planner purchases early

One strategy that seems to work well for getting money back quicker, is to cancel pre-cruise purchases before the sailing gets officially cancelled in Royal Caribbean's system.

Usually there are a few hours or more between when Royal Caribbean announces cruises being cancelled and when their system starts to process these cancellations.  

It seems if you can get into the Cruise Planner site and start canceling your drink packages, excursions, spa appointments and more before they automatically get cancelled, refunds were processing sooner.  

This is more anecdotal than scientific, but something to keep in mind going forward.

Sales are real now

Another silver lining to our current state of affairs is we have seen significant discounts in Royal Caribbean's latest sales.

The last few rounds of pre-cruise purchase sales and cruise fare sales seem to have netted cruises the most lucrative savings I can recall seeing in quite sometime.

It is no secret that Royal Caribbean (and all cruise lines) are hurting for cash, so any revenue coming in is quite welcome.  Moreover, there are quite a few people that have cancelled cruises this year and next year.  So with all of that in mind, it looks like the cruise line has been more aggressive in their discounts.

Keep an eye out for discounts going forward, especially for 2020 sailings. There seems to be changing prices constantly, and impressive savings too.

One more thing: refunds

It is hard not to talk about the elephant in the room, and that is how long it has taken for refunds and future cruise credits to be processed.  

Royal Caribbean has admitted to these delays, and it is perhaps the top complaint from readers since the first round of cancellations occurred. While Royal Caribbean has given timelines of 30 or 45 days (business or calendar), the reality has been quite different for a lot of people.

As I stated earlier, the value of a travel agent has made this process so much easier on me and so many others.  In reading people's experiences, it seems there is a clear divide between people with a good travel agent, and those that did not book with one.  Worse yet were those that booked through third-party big box stores or other big resellers that left their customers out in the rain, so to speak.

But even with a good agent, refunds are not processed any quicker. However, they are getting processed.  Yes, sometimes incorrectly, but the money is flowing out there.

The lesson learned about cruise refunds is it will take arguably longer than it should to be received, but it is happening. Royal Caribbean has brought back more call center representatives and rolled out a suite of self-service forms for travel agents and consumers alike to use.

Patience has gone from a virtue to a repeating mantra, but the money does show up.

Your thoughts

What has been something you have learned through all of this? Is there something you would have done differently? Share your experiences in our comments!

US Passport service to slowly start up again

In:
Category: 
12Jun2020

If you are in need of a U.S. passport, there appears to be a plan to resume offering them again to the public.

The U.S. State Department announced on Thursday it was entering Phase One of its three-phase approach to the resuming of operations.

During Phase 1, limited staff are returning to work at these agencies and centers, allowing the agency to resume limited processing of applications they have already received.

Applications will be processed on a first in, first out basis.

Since March 20, passport applications have been nearly impossible, only available in "qualified life-or-death emergencies".

Phase two will see additional staff return to agencies, and appointments for life-or-death emergencies only. Applications will be processed on first in, first out basis.

Phase three is a return to normalcy, with all staff returning to agencies.  There will be limited appointments for customers traveling within 2 weeks, and applications will be processed on first in, first out basis.

The State Department said customers may always apply by mail or at an acceptance facility near their homes (if it is a life-or-death emergency requiring international travel within 72 hours).

In addition, if you submitted your documents along with your passport application, they are still awaiting further processing.

AstraZeneca aims to produce Coronavirus vaccine by September

In:
Category: 
05Jun2020

Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced today great news for the cruise industry, which has seen a great deal of hesitation among customers who are concerned about going on a cruise ship during the current pandemic.

The British company said it has begun manufacturing the University of Oxford’s potential coronavirus vaccine ahead of trial results and has doubled its capacity to two billion doses. It hopes to make 400 million doses for the U.S. and U.K. and 1 billion for those in low- and middle-income countries. 

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told journalists the company plans to start distributing the vaccine to the U.S. and U.K. in September or October, with the balance of deliveries likely to be made by early 2021.

Human trials began in Oxford at the end of April and scientists hope to have some indication over whether the vaccine works by July. 

Soriot added that the company expected to have clinical results by August. “Our present assumption is that we will have the data by the end of the summer, by August, so in September we should know whether we have an effective vaccine or not,” he told BBC radio.

Last month, American biotech company Moderna announced it has an experimental vaccine that resulted in positive interim clinical data in its first human safety tests.

CDC will use red, yellow, or green system to identify COVID-19 on cruise ships during shutdown

In:
Category: 
03Jun2020

A new plan by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will utilize a color-coded system of identifying potential and existing cases of Coronavirus on cruise ships while there are no passengers onboard.

The Miami Herald is reporting that the CDC's new system will assign each cruise ship with a color to signify the ship's status:

  • Green: no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness for 28 days.
  • Yellow: one or more COVID-like illness cases pending confirmation.
  • Red: one or more cases of confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the past 28 days

The new system is one part of the agency's plan to detect, prevent and mitigate the spread of coronavirus on cruise ships. It was developed to assist in simplifying the process of getting crew members home.

If a ship is in Green status, crew transfers and repatriation are possible via commercial transportation, whereas non-commercial transportation would be permitted for yellow or red status.

In addition to the color-coded system, the CDC included recommendations for action to take onboard cruise ships for each color system to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Even while a ship is in Green status, the CDC recommends cruise ships take certain steps to slow the spread if it were to occur:

  • Instruct crew members to wear a cloth face covering when outside of individual cabins
  • Relocate all crew to single-occupancy cabins with private bathrooms
  • Implement social distancing (6 feet) of crew members when working or moving through the ship

It also will require certain other changes for ships in Green status:

  • Eliminate self-serve dining options at all crew and officer messes
  • Discourage handshaking
  • Place hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) in multiple locations and in sufficient quantities to encourage hand hygiene
  • Promote respiratory and hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread in high-trafficked areas

Plan for passengers is still unknown

The color-coded system was designed for the current state of cruise ships during the global cruise shutdown, but an entirely different approach needs to be determined for passengers.

The CDC’s director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine Martin Cetron indicated these plans do not apply to passenger cruises. Furthermore, he told the Miami Herald, "the CDC has not begun to review plans for how to safely operate cruises prior to development of a vaccine."

"This is the bare minimum," Cetron said of the plans to mitigate spread of the virus on ships while cruising is stopped. "If a line ever wants to get back to full density on board, bringing on board people who are at risk of dying of COVID, they have to be able to control COVID on these ships when their occupancy is 90% less. It will be this plan on steroids."

Tourism opening back up elsewhere

While the cruise industry is under the microscope of government oversight, other aspects of the tourism industry have plans in place to resume operations.

Theme parks in Orlando, Florida are re-opening this month, with Universal Orlando re-opening select resort hotels and parks to guests this week. Walt Disney World will re-open in July, and SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa will re-open June 11.

The airlines have been operating throughout the COVID-19 era, with regular flights in and out of countries such as Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Port Canaveral's CEO recently said he feels the cruise industry is taking an "unfair hit" from the federal government.

Norwegian Cruise Line releases new policies to keep guests safe from coronavirus

In:
Category: 
01Jun2020

Norwegian Cruise Line released on Monday its new policies, procedures and measures meant to keep guests safe once cruising resumes.

Royal Caribbean has not released their new health policies, but have alluded to it coming soon.  To give Royal Caribbean cruisers an idea of what to expect, here is what NCL has in mind.

The cruise line posted its new "SAIL SAFE Health and Safety Program" that aims to ensure the health, safety and confidence of guests and crew onboard its ships.

There are six key areas of health and safety addressed in the program, and it will be implemented fleetwide.

Enhanced Screening Protocols

All guests will undergo an enhanced pre-embarkation health screening.

Additionally, all crew will undergo extensive screening prior to embarkation and constant monitoring throughout the voyage. \

Once on board, touchless temperature checks and continuous monitoring of guests and crew throughout the voyage will help identify potential health issues, offering an additional
layer of prevention and protection.

Checks will occur:

  • Prior to embarkation and disembarkation
  • Upon returning to the ship while in a port of call
  • Prior to all activities in public venues
  • Prior to all meals in dining venues
  • A healthy crew helps ensure healthy guests. Constant monitoring of crew health includes temperature checks multiple times per day as well as rigid sanitation protocols.
  • We’re enhancing our existing Pre-Employment Medical Examination process, which already screens for a wide variety of infectious diseases, to ensure the health and safety of our crew.
  • We’re exploring on board testing capabilities that will allow crew members to undergo the latest, most advanced form of COVID-19 testing at any time throughout their employment contract.

Responsible Social Distancing

Staggered embarkation and advanced online check-in will be implemented for proper social distancing.

In addition, the cruise line will reduce capacity in all public areas throughout the voyage.

All onboard activities will still be available, although operated at a reduced capacity, and in some cases, slightly modified in order to ensure safe social distancing. NCL will take necessary precautions and follow applicable public health guidelines to ensure guest health and safety, which is our highest priority at all times.

Increased sanitation measures

All ships are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to every voyage in accordance with company protocols, which are developed in partnership with CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Embarkation terminals will be sanitized continuously, and, where possible, fogged before and after each embarkation and debarkation.

All staterooms, suites and public areas will be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected at an increased frequency, using Electrostatic Spray Technology.

Increased sanitation efforts include:

  • The disinfectant we use for fogging in staterooms and public areas is hypochlorous acid (HOCl). Hypochlorous acid is a non-toxic, powerful oxidant that effectively kills bacteria, spores, and viruses. It is natural and safe to use in open areas since it is comprised of natural elements such as water and salt, and electric charge.
  • NCL's 24/7 prevention schedule will feature continuous disinfection of public areas and high-traffic touch points. NCL will ensure that cleaning occurs continuously for all elevators and all public areas during on and off-peak hours.
  • Buffets and beverage stations will be full service with staff available to serve guests.
  • All guests will be strongly encouraged to engage in frequent handwashing, including when entering food and beverage venues, and hand sanitizer will be prominently placed and easily accessible throughout the ship

All-new Air Filtration

Installation of medical-grade air-filters, H13 HEPA, that remove 99.95% of airborne pathogens across our entire fleet to ensure the air you breathe is clean.

Extended Ship To Shore Safety

NCL will visit safe, open ports that may mean itinerary changes.

Enhanced Medical Resources

Onboard medical centers will be fully equipped with the latest testing kits and medical supplies.

NCL will also increase their medical team fleetwide.

Testing kits and medical supplies include:

  • Advanced onsite COVID-19 testing
  • Increased inventory of vaccinations
  • Increased inventory of medications to treat COVID-19

NCL will begin to introduce a newly created onboard position of Public Health Officer, responsible for the oversight of all sanitation and outbreak prevention initiatives. Additionally, they will monitor the day-to-day cleanliness of all public areas and accommodations, maintaining compliance with the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

  • Enhanced health & safety trainings and continued education for crew members.
  • Webinars developed by our various health partners.
  • WHO and CDC materials are available to vessels and crew.
  •  All crew will have public health training when joining the ship.

What do you think of NCL's health program? Does it go far enough to make you feel safe to cruise? Are there rules you do not like? Share your observations in the comments!

Royal Caribbean: "We're not sure when we're coming back"

In:
Category: 
23May2020

The most asked question about Royal Caribbean, and cruising in general, is when will cruises resume sailing, and Royal Caribbean is still sorting that out as well.

With Royal Caribbean's announcement last week it was canceling all cruises through the end of July, the company updated its website to indicate it will return to service on August 1.

However, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke on CNBC last week and was frank with his answer about when his company will start sailing again.

"Well, I think we have said that we're not sure when we're coming back. We won't come back until we're absolutely sure that we've done everything we can to work to protect the safety of our guests and crew."

"We said when we we won't be back before the end of July, but we we haven't gone to the next step of saying we're absolutely confident that we're starting on August one."

"We will work with the authorities. We will work with all the experts that we have asked to help us on this, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our guests and crew."

What to expect

Without a doubt, you are likely wondering when cruising will start back up again and what date to believe.

For now, you should take Royal Caribbean's date of operations to resume on August 1 as the defacto answer, but prepare for more cancellations.

The answer of when cruises will resume may be better determined by looking out your window and seeing when life begins to return to some kind of normalcy. The sooner daily life starts back up, the less impediments the cruise lines will have to face in starting up again.

Australia extends ban on cruise ships until September 17

In:
22May2020

The Australian Border Force announced it has extended its ban on cruise ships until September 17, 2020.

The Australian Border Force said in a statement: "On 15 May 2020, the Governor-General has extended the human biosecurity emergency period for an additional three months, from 17 June to 17 September 2020. This has enabled the Minister for Health to continue to exercise the emergency powers under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act to prevent or control the spread of COVID-19."

"On 20 May 2020, the Minister for Health extended the determination to prohibit the arrival at an Australian port of any international cruise ship that has left a foreign port. The restrictions included direct arrivals and Round Trip Cruises."

The ban prohibits any cruise ship capable of carrying more than 100 passengers is prohibited from operating cruises in Australia, including direct arrivals and round trip cruises.

The ban was put into place on March 27, and was set to expire in June.

"The Australian Border Force has been in constant contact with the cruise industry which has been cooperative and understands the Government's overwhelming priority to ensure the health and safety of the broader Australian community," the ABF said in a statement.

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