Norwegian Cruise Line cancels cruises until November, one month past CDC ban

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is canceling cruises until November.

The Miami-based company announced it is canceling cruises worldwide through Oct. 31, a full month after the ban on cruises put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expires.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the world's third largest cruise company and owner of three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The announcement comes as Florida is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The company and its largest competitors, Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Group and MSC Cruises, continued to sell cruises for the summer, though it was unclear when the industry would be able to restart operations. About half of customers who have canceled cruises are opting for a "future cruise credit" over a refund, giving the companies cash while they weather the industry's longest pause.

To increase transparency, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said in a statement that the company will be giving a monthly update on the status of cruise cancellations beginning in August. The company recently partnered with Royal Caribbean Group to hire a panel of experts to develop new safety protocols for when passenger cruises resume.

In mid-July, the CDC extended its no-sail order until at least Oct. 1, citing ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks among crew members on cruise ships currently in U.S. waters. Six ships in and around U.S. waters are currently experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness, according to the CDC, including three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ships.

Princess Cruises, owned by Carnival Corp., announced last week that it is canceling cruises worldwide until mid-December, except for cruises in Australia, which are canceled until Nov. 1.

TUI Cruises, a German cruise line partially owned by Royal Caribbean Group, launched the first large-scale cruises during the COVID-19 pandemic from Germany late last week. Carnival Corp. is expected to start cruises from Germany on its AIDA Cruises ships on Aug. 5. The ships will be less than 50% full and will not stop at any ports, the company said.

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