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Cruise industry kicks off 2021 with more cancelled cruises

The impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the industry is rolling over into the new year.
Credit: Disney

A handful of cruise lines have extended cancellations of departures from the United States, attributing the decision to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Disney Cruise Line announced it would cancel departures for its four major cruises - the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Dream - through March. The company says guests who are affected by the cancellation can receive a cruise credit for future sailings or a full refund.

Royal Caribbean also announced it would extend its suspension of sailings all the way through April 30, 2021. The plan, Royal Caribbean says, is to resume operations in May.

Last week, Carnival Cruise Line announced it would halt all embarkations from U.S. ports till the end of March. The cruise line said impacted guests should keep an eye on their emails for more details soon. 

All three companies have stated they are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to slowly resume sailing once their cancellation periods end. Without government approval, ships will remain docked at major ports across the country.

The cruise line industry has essentially been aground since March of last year when the CDC announced a no-sail-order for all U.S. ports following several outbreaks aboard various vessels. The order was continuously renewed throughout the year before expiring in October 2020 after new safety guidelines were created. However, many companies have taken it upon themselves to halt operations until they meet those new guidelines.

In order to resume sailing, the CDC says companies have to prove they have procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew if an outbreak were to occur. Cruises would need to have test labs onboard every ship and make arrangements for isolating passengers on shore.