Carnival Cruise Line announced Wednesday morning that they are canceling all cruises through January 31, 2021.
In addition, cruises from Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Mobile, New Orleans, and San Diego are canceled through February 28th, while Carnival Legend sailings out of Tampa are canceled through March 26.
Earlier this month, the line made the announcement that all cruises would be canceled through 2020.
Why The News Isn’t Surprising
While it will undoubtedly disappoint some would-be passengers, the cancellations actually make sense given what Carnival has been saying for months regarding their plans for a gradual resumption.
The move also seemed somewhat inevitable after the Centers for Disease Control put in place a conditional-sail order which required that any ship hoping to resume regular service would first have to undergo a certification process.
Before a ship can be certified, it must first implement the numerous health and safety protocols now required, bring back the crew members they spent weeks (and in some cases months) repatriating, and train those employees on the new protocols.
They also must provide the CDC with 30 days notice of their intent to conduct a simulated sailing during which the newly-implemented protocols will be tested.
Which Ships Will Be First to Return
While it’s as yet unknown exactly when Carnival will be able to resume sailings, they have said which ships will be first to sail and from what port.
Shortly after details about the CDC’s conditional-sail order came down, the company said in a statement to Cruise Radio that their return to operations would be “gradual and phased in, beginning with operations from Miami and Port Canaveral.”
The statement went on to say, “We continue our analysis of the CDC’s requirements and are moving forward in getting ships back to the U.S., starting with Carnival Horizon and Carnival Breeze.”
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Carnival said that 16 ships are currently undergoing the CDC process which will eventually allow them to welcome passengers back. Those ships include the Carnival Conquest, Dream, Ecstasy, Elation, Freedom, Glory, Liberty, Miracle, Panorama, Pride, Sensation, Sunrise, Sunshine and Vista.
In addition, the currently-under-construction Mardi Gras is still expected to enter service next year.
“We are committed to meeting the CDC requirements and keeping our guests and business partners informed of our progress,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The entire Carnival team appreciates the great support of our guests, travel advisors and business partners, and local officials in our homeports and destinations.”
As to why PortMiami and Port Canaveral will be the primary focus on Carnival’s return, both are considered to be “drive markets.” This means a large number of passengers have the ability to get to the ports from which the ships sail without having to board a plane.
This could play a crucial role, as many people who are willing to take a cruise — especially given the new protocols being put into place — may be reluctant to board an airplane, where far fewer precautions are being taken.
Compensation for Canceled Cruises
Guests who are sailings on cruises five days or less will receive a 100 percent Future Cruise Credit and $300 onboard credit. Those booked on cruises six days or longer will receive a 100 percent Future Cruise Credit and $600 onboard credit.
Guests can also opt for a refund to their original form of payment by clicking here.