Cruise: CDC extends no-sail' ban – when will cruise holidays happen again?

Cruise holidays were booming at the end of last year, with the industry enjoying a pleasant uptick year-on-year with those options for a break on the high seas. However, since the outbreak of coronavirus, the industry has felt devastation ripple throughout.

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A new ruling by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed a further extension on when cruises will be allowed to resume from North America, and though many ships sail globally, this huge chunk of the world could result in more disruption for travellers.

The CDC has now lengthened its “no-sail ban” for cruises sailing from and docking at U.S. ports saying it should stay in place for at least “100 days”.

Though officials are allowed to recede the ban, as it stands that means the shutdown to cruising in the area will last well into July.

The ban can only be receded if the US government retracts its state of public health emergency.

At present, the US currently has more than 500,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has experienced some of the highest death statistics in the world – at the time of writing 18,761 lives have been lost in the country.

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Cruise: The CDC has extended its “no-sail” ban amid the coronavirus pandemic (Image: Getty Images)Cruise: The Diamond Princess was quarantined when the virus broke out onboard (Image: Getty Images)

With many cruise lines headquartered and sailing from US shores, including popular names such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises, the news means a new wave of holidaymakers are now facing cancelled plans.

“The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans,” CDC director Robert Redfield announced in a statement.

The CDC also revealed how many quarantined ships are still at sea.

A media statement reads: “In recent weeks, at least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers that tested positive or experienced respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness. Currently, there are approximately 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard.

“Additionally, CDC is aware of 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the United States with known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain onboard.”

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Given the fast-spreading nature of viruses on cruise ships, the industry was one of the first to be hit by the pandemic.

A Princess Cruises ship found itself in the spotlight after it was quarantined off the coast of Japan when 712 people on board were diagnosed.

Of those, 11 died and approximately 10 remain in critical condition.

However, experts believe that this won’t be the end of the cruise industry.

Cruise: Over 700 passengers and crew became infected on the Princess Cruises ship (Image: Getty Images)

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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Erin Gifford, a Washington DC-based lifestyle and travel writer, said: “The cruise industry has really been battered though.

“They’ve weathered storms in the past, like norovirus outbreaks, but have always seemed to rebound.”

Despite this, she adds: “I think it will take longer to re-instill confidence in cruisers this time.”

The good news is, research shows cruise enthusiasts remain passionate and planning for the future.

A recent study from analysts at UBS recently revealed that bookings for 2021 cruises have “gone up nine percent in the last 30 days versus the same time last year”.

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UBS said in a report at the end of March: “That includes people applying their future cruise credits from sailings that were cancelled this year, but still shows a surprising resilience in desire to book a cruise.”

So when will cruises return to the seas?

Given the unprecedented nature of the virus, it’s hard to put an exact date on sailings, as many firms are taking things day-by-day.

As it stands, many are still forecasting for May departure dates, others span as late as July.