WASHINGTON, USA — Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) which represents 95 percent of global ocean-going cruise capacity, announced that its members would maintain the ongoing voluntary suspension of cruise operations in the US through December 31, 2020, and that its members will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety with the guidance of outside public health experts and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Association issued the following statement on behalf of its members:
“As we continue to plan for a gradual and highly-controlled return of cruise operations in the US, CLIA members are committed to implementing stringent measures to address COVID-19 safety, including 100 percent testing of passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities, and trial sailings, among many others. We share a common goal with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect public health, which has been affirmed and reaffirmed consistently throughout the industry’s response to the global pandemic. As we work to operationalize a path forward, our members have agreed to extend our existing suspension of US operations through December 31.
“This action will provide additional time to align the industry’s extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew. We recognize the devastating impact that the pandemic continues to have on the 421,000 Americans whose livelihoods are connected directly to cruise operations. We will work with urgency to advance a responsible return to cruising while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health.”
The cruise industry is a vital economic artery in the United States, generating over $53 billion in annual economic activity and supporting 421,000 American jobs spanning almost every sector. Each day without cruise operations in the US results in nearly 1,000 American jobs lost. From mid-March through today, it is estimated that the suspension of cruise operations has resulted in a loss of more than $25 billion in economic activity and over 164,000 American jobs.
In the nearly eight months that cruise operations in the US have been suspended, CLIA members have been diligent in the planning and development of rigorous protocols in the interest of the health and safety of passengers, crew and the communities cruise lines serve. The public health protocols that CLIA members have agreed to adopt have been informed by the recommendations of world-class experts in public health and science, as well as the experiences of CLIA member lines who have resumed sailing in Europe and other parts of the world with approval from local and regional governments.