Carnival Cruise Line cancels cruises through November

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Cruisers disembark from the Carnival Sensation at PortMiami on Monday, March 9, 2020, one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised all Americans to avoid cruise ships because they are exceptionally dangerous for COVID-19 spread.

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Less than two weeks after Carnival Cruise Line said it would begin to restart cruises from PortMiami and Port Canaveral on Nov. 1, on Monday the company canceled all cruises through the end of November.

Cruises are currently banned in the U.S. through Oct. 31 after the White House blocked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from extending its “no-sail” order until February 2021 as it had planned. The industry first shut down passenger cruises in mid-March amid COVID-19 outbreaks on several ships.

Carnival Cruise Line was the only major cruise company that said it intended to restart limited cruising Nov. 1. All others previously canceled cruises through November. Competitors Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages are selling U.S. cruises for December.

“As we looked at the list of tasks involved in returning to operations, we determined that canceling November was required, even if the CDC’s no sail order is not extended beyond Oct. 31,” said Chris Chiames, a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line, via email.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said previously that the company needs at least 30 days to get a laid-up ship ready for passengers.

On Friday, Donald joined a call with Vice President Mike Pence and other cruise company CEOs to discuss the CDC’s no-sail order. Pence said he supports the industry’s efforts to restart cruises, according to a White House readout of the call, and will be reviewing plans from cruise companies about how to restart safely before the no-sail order expires at the end of the month.

The cruise industry’s lobbying group Cruise Lines International Association has said companies are committed to testing all passengers for COVID-19 before boarding but has not specified what tests will be used and when passengers will be tested.

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Taylor Dolven is a business journalist who has covered the tourism industry at the Miami Herald since 2018. Her reporting has uncovered environmental violations of cruise companies, the impact of vacation rentals on affordable housing supply, safety concerns among pilots at MIA’s largest cargo airline and the hotel industry’s efforts to delay a law meant to protect workers from sexual harassment.

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