Top Signs That Cruising Will Not Resume in 2020

While we are hopeful that cruising will resume soon, there are several signs that indicate that cruising will not restart in 2020.

Top Signs Cruising Will Not Restart in 2020

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Since the No Sail order went into effect on March 14th, cruisers have anxiously been waiting for cruising to resume. At first, we were hopeful that we would return to the seas after the 30-day suspension. Although, it quickly became apparent that would not be the case. Now, close to five months later, it seems like there is no end in sight. Unfortunately, there are several signs that indicate cruising will not resume in 2020. Here are just a few of them.

Top Signs That Cruising Will Not Resume in 2020

Current Status of COVID-19 in U.S.

COVID-19 continues to infect tens of thousands of Americans each day. While in late May it looked like we were on the down side of things, the virus has roared back into full effect. The number of cases continues to climb in several states indicating that the United States still does not have this virus under control.

Sadly, some of the states that are continuing to set record-high numbers on a daily basis are also home to some of the busiest cruise ports. These states include California, Texas, and of course, Florida.

Reasons Why Cruising Will Not Restart in 2020

So, it is safe to assume that we will need time for these numbers to decrease and then remain low before we can even think about the possibility of cruising again.

Given this current status, we think it is highly unlikely that the cruise terminals in these homeports will be given the green light to begin processing cruise passengers this fall.

This does not even consider the possibility of a second wave of cases like many have predicted. With every state currently in different phases, with different restrictions and travel orders, it will inevitably impact would-be cruisers and vacationers.

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Global Travel Restrictions

Along with the rising number of cases in the U.S., several travel destinations have begun to institute new safety protocols. Many of these locations are requiring negative COVID-19 tests within 48-72 hours of arrival at the destination.

Popular cruise ports, such as Bermuda, Aruba, Alaska, and San Juan are requiring these additional safety measures.

Other places, such as the Bahamas, now require travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days. While some destinations like Spain have reported an indefinite ban on cruise ships.

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These global travel restrictions all point to cruise lines having a difficult time finding locations willing to accept passengers even if the No Sail Order is lifted. For cruising to resume in 2020, cruise lines would not only need to find ports willing to accept thousands of visitors for just one day but also demonstrate the ability to comply with local regulations which vary greatly.

We feel that it will be nearly impossible for cruise ships to comply with each port’s ever-changing safety measures.

The CDC’s Stance on Cruise Ships

We can all probably agree that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have an affinity for cruise ships. The health organization seems to have unjustly targeted this segment of the travel industry during the pandemic.

Some might go as far as to say that the CDC is harassing the cruise lines, with officials even making some harsh statements regarding the cruise industry. Regardless, we think it is reasonable at the very least to conclude that the organization is unfairly targeting cruise ships.

With this extra attention being paid to cruise travel, it will be difficult for the industry to develop protocols that will satisfy this scrutiny in time to restart cruising in 2020.

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Last month, the CDC did provide a glimmer of hope to cruisers by making a public request for feedback on cruise planning procedures. This 59-item questionnaire has a due date of September 21, 2020. Given that time line though, it doesn’t seem reasonable that the No Sail order would be lifted just 9 days later.

Further, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced on August 5th that its ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily further suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least October 31st.

The Repatriation of Crew

Since the cruise shutdown, the cruise lines have been working diligently to get crew members back home safely. Even with the cruise lines utilizing their own vessels to return workers home, thousands still remain at sea due to travel restrictions.

With this delay in getting crew home, we can only assume that it will be equally as challenging to get workers back onboard ships when cruising is ready to resume.

Delays in Returning Staff Another Reasons Cruising Will Not Resume in 2020

We suspect that it will take months for an entire crew to return to a ship prior to sailing. This includes extra health measures for the staff like enhanced medical questionnaires, COVID testing, and quarantines before being allowed to step foot back on a cruise ship.

Further, crew members will then need training on all the new health and safety protocols that have been established. Given this lengthy process, it is unlikely cruise ships will have enough prepared staff to resume cruising in 2020.

Status of Onboard Alterations

Once the cruise lines and the CDC can agree on a list of safety procedures, the ships’ staff will then need time to implement these onboard changes.

These changes could include everything from altering seating arrangements to installing markers for social distancing. Other modifications could include adding barriers to places such as Guest Services, bars, or coffee venues and adding additional hand sanitizing stations. There could also be the addition of thermal temperature kiosks or UV sanitation systems.

Other updates that will require even more time would be changes to ventilation systems and other behind the scene processes for dining and hotel services.

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The Healthy Sail Panel established in partnership with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line indicated that it would only put forth its preliminary recommendations by the end of August. So, we suspect that most of the major cruise lines have not even begun to make changes to their currently docked ships.

With that time line, it seems very unrealistic that cruise ships will have the proper measures in place to begin sailing in 2020.

Related Post: When Each Cruise Line Is Expected to Resume Service

Containing Onboard Outbreaks

Lastly, we can look to some of the first cruises to set sail overseas. While some European brands have recently begun cruising for the first time since the shutdown back in March, these initial cruises are already experiencing cases of COVID-19.

Last week, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 2 set sail on a 3-day cruise on the North Sea. The ship sailed with 1,200 passengers on an itinerary that included no land stops. So far, there have been no reports of any passengers or crew testing positive for COVID-19.

Although, Mein Schiff 1 had to cancel its initial cruise due to multiple crew members testing positive for COVID-19 before boarding the ship. The cruise line claims that this was proof that its precautions are working. Still, it is not good news for skeptical travelers or authorities in the U.S. regarding a safe return to cruising.

Perhaps even more troublesome are recent reports regarding outbreaks of COVID-19 on ships that have sailed.

Initial news reports this past week revealed 4 crew members on the expedition cruise line Hurtigruten were sick with COVID-19.

Cruisers on the ship’s July 17th and July 24th cruises were notified and recommended to quarantine. Presently, a total of 36 crew members and at least 5 passengers have tested positive for the virus from the cruise line’s two sailings on Roald Amundsen.

Roald Amundsed Ship One Reason Cruising Might Not Start in 2020

Additionally, one person tested positive for COVID-19 on a Paul Gauguin ship in Tahiti this past weekend. Then, a passenger on the first cruise from the U.S. also tested positive. UnCruise Adventures set sail in Alaska this past weekend with 38 guests, but the ship needed to cut the cruise 4 days short due to the findings. Both passengers were reportedly asymptomatic. Another ship, SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I, has also reported a recent COVID-19 positive passenger.

Given these recent outbreaks, it questions the feasibility that cruising can resume during the pandemic. Media attention and reports like this will ultimately impact the entire industry. While it might not be fair, these instances will further fuel the negative media portrayal that cruising is not safe.

Related Post: All Cruise Cancellations Due to the Coronavirus

If similar incidents continue to occur on these initial cruises, then we can basically say good-bye to cruising until 2021.

Comments

Do you thing cruising will resume in 2020? Would you cruise on one of the first voyages? Drop us an anchor below to share when you think cruising will realistically begin.

Don Bucolo, or “DB”, loves everything about cruising- the ocean, the food, and the atmosphere. While he may be obsessed with doing extensive amounts of research on ships and all elements of a cruise, Don enjoys sharing his new found knowledge with fellow cruisers. When he is not sailing the high seas, he does whatever his wife tells him to do-it only took 10 years to realize this.
Don
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9 comments on Top Signs That Cruising Will Not Resume in 2020

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  1. Because so many of the Staes are having increasing numbers. And many of these states are where the cruise. Ships go out and come into. Also many cruise ports are now forbidding ships from their ports and countries.
    One year off is the safest bet to me!

    What an incredibly in-depth article you wrote – all backed up by documentation from legitimate sources. Thank you both so much for your passion for cruising as we are ALL on happy-cruise-family who wish to remain safe, sound, informed and when the time is right, HEAD OUT TO THE HIGH SEAS !!! Cheers ! m.

    While that article, very comprehensively and accurately describing the pros and cons for cruising in and out from US, is absolutely correct – it does not touch (almost) European, Russian and Chinese cruise companies and their capabilities. Greece already opened almost all its ports for cruise ships. Turkey is following. Italy is joining, and cruises from St Petersburg (Russia) plan to start very soon… So I think that the picture is not so negative worldwide, as it shown here. Lets see…

    I don’t think cruising will resume in 2020, because the safety of others need to be taken seriously and they need to wait until the COVID-19 is gone and there is a vaccine for it. The headquarters need to delay the reopening of their offices since it has been reported of COVID-19 cases in the building and need to continue in the safety of everyone. No, I would not cruise until there is a vaccine for this virus and this COVID-19 has been gone.

    Considering opening our schools safely is still a work in progress for most states, we are not looking for cruising to begin anytime soon and certainly not at all in 2020.

    We can all take one year off for safety reasons 👍

    Anyone that is an avid cruiser already knew that this year is a bust for cruising. Hopefully 2nd quarter next year? I have 4 booked for next year.

    Cruise travel will prove to be less enjoyable related to numerous established safety and distancing protocols. With staffing, customer relations, food, service, shopping, entertainment availability and shortfall issues before you …what’s the point? And cruising in general is grounded on social interactions, so without it where do we derive pleasure? Therefore, delays into 2021 are inevitable because of perceived reduced experience, risk/safety issues, and a unsatisfactory return for dollars spent.

    I’m hoping to be on the first Hawaii cruise Nov 14 after two others were cancelled. NCL seems to have everything completed as far as CDC requirements.

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