Royal Caribbean has extended the suspension of its global cruise ship operations through June 11, 2020, amid the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The large cruise company announced the news in a Thursday statement, citing the ongoing COVID-19 crisis for its decision.
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“Given global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has decided to extend the suspension of sailings of our global fleet through June 11, 2020,” the cruise line said.
“We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience. We expect to return to service on June 12.”
A spokesperson further clarified on Twitter, however, that there are some previously announced exceptions to the June 12 date regarding the company’s planned return to service. Currently, service is expected to return for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings on July 1, 2020, amid announced port closures, they said.
“As the world changes, our commitment to you hasn’t,” the social media statement read. “We are terribly sorry and understand your disappointment. Please know your health, safety and well-being are and always will be our top priority.”
Pictured here is Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas ship. (Royal Caribbean)
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had extended its “No Sail Order” first issued to all cruise ships under U.S. jurisdiction in March, citing continued coronavirus outbreaks on “at least 10 cruise ships” in recent weeks.
Under its latest “No Sail” guidelines, the CDC is requiring cruise lines to submit a plan for further prevention of COVID-19 to both the CDC and the U.S. Coast Guard, including plans for responding to further outbreaks with “limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support.”
No ships will be allowed to disembark passengers or crew unless directed by the Coast Guard and under the guidance of the CDC and federal, state and local officials.
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Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean joins competitors in voluntarily extending the suspension of cruise ship operations, in light of the ongoing outbreak, into June.
Disney Cruise Line has extended departure cancellations through June 7, while Carnival Cruise Line, has extended the suspension of its operations through June 26. Similarly, sister cruise lines Holland America, Princess Cruises and Seabourn have also suspended sailings through June 30.