U.S. Cruising Docked Until 2021 As Major Cruise Lines Cancel More Itineraries

Carnival cruise ship

Cruise ships won't be setting sail in U.S. waters until next year, as major cruise lines continue to postpone their itineraries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After postponing restart dates almost on a monthly basis, multiple cruise lines have announced that they will not return to sea until 2021, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifting their 'No Sail" Order to a "Conditional Sail" Order last week.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean all announced on Monday that they plan to suspend trips through December 2020.

Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines have also extended their suspensions as they are under the parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, according to The Points Guy. Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruises has also canceled their trips.

Norwegian customers who had booked an upcoming cruise will be refunded and receive a 10% off coupon for future booking. Royal Caribbean is offering multiple options to guests including Future Cruise Credit, a "lift and shift" option to reschedule a trip, or a refund.

Royal Caribbean's announcement excludes sailings from Singapore, however Azamara, also under Royal Caribbean's parent company, has suspended winter sailings throughout Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and South America.

Additionally, Princess Cruises has already canceled two sailings — its World Cruise and its Circle South America cruise —  in 2021. Carnival also previously announced its canceled cruises well into 2021.

Independent of the cruise lines' announcements, the industry's leading trade group, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), also told USA Today on Tuesday that they'll be suspending U.S. operations. The group's previous suspension was initially slated to last until Oct. 31.

And although the CDC lifted its "No Sail" Order, cruising is considering a Level 3 warning status by the agency, advising travelers to "Avoid Nonessential Travel."

Canada has also extended its cruise ship ban until the end of March.

Looking to the future, many cruise lines including Norwegian and Disney have launched itineraries for 2022 which are available to book. When cruising does return to U.S. waters, it'll look quite different as boarding and disembarking procedures will be complete with new protocols including temperature checks and COVID-19 testing. Ships will also not be at full capacity to comply with social distancing.

Christine Burroni is Travel + Leisure’s Digital News Editor. Find her keeping up with just about everything on Twitter or see what she’s up to in NYC or on her latest trip on Instagram.

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