Cruisers won't be setting sail this year after all.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents 95% of global ocean-going cruise capacity, announced today that its members would maintain the ongoing voluntary suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through Dec. 31, 2020.
Its members, it said in a press release, will "use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety with the guidance of outside public health experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Measures include testing of all passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities and trial sailings, CLIA said.
The ongoing voluntary suspension would, according to the group's statement, "provide additional time to align the industry’s extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew. We recognize the devastating impact that the pandemic continues to have on the 421,000 Americans whose livelihoods are connected directly to cruise operations. We will work with urgency to advance a responsible return to cruising while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health."
The group estimates the economic loss in the eight months since the suspension of more than $25 billion in activity and more than 164,000 American jobs.