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The cruise industry is staying shuttered through October

A cruise ship is seen docked at the Port Tampa Bay March 18.
A cruise ship is seen docked at the Port Tampa Bay March 18. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Aug. 5, 2020
Updated Aug. 5, 2020

DORAL — Cruise companies are canceling U.S. cruises until at least Oct. 31.

The industry lobbying group Cruise Lines International Association announced Wednesday that its member lines won’t be coming back until at least that date. In June, the group agreed to cancel U.S. cruises through mid-September, before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned cruises until Oct. 1.

CLIA member companies include Florida-based Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, each of which have ship that sail from Tampa, and MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages.

CLIA cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension on or before 30 September 2020,” the group said in a statement. “At the same time, should conditions in the U.S. change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart.”

The announcement comes as cruise companies struggle to repatriate crew members, some of whom have been stuck at sea since mid-March when the industry first shut down, most without pay. Ships continue to experience outbreaks of COVID-19 among crew. There are currently 15 cruise ships in and around U.S. waters with COVID-19 or COVID-like illness, according to the CDC.

Four cruise companies that have started cruising again this summer — Hurtigruten, PonantUnCruise and SeaDream — have been forced to cancel cruises after passengers tested positive this week.

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. continue to surge. On Wednesday, Florida reached more than 500,000 cases of the disease and 7,627 resident deaths.

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