“If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19," the CDC said. 

Updated August 08, 2020
Advertisement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its “No-Sail Order” telling Americans to avoid going on a cruise until October, the agency said on Thursday.

The decision comes as several cruise lines have suspended their itineraries until the fall, including MSC Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line, which even predicted it won’t carry full passenger capacity until 2022.

The latest “No-Sail Order” was extended until at least Sept. 30 for “cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction,” according to the CDC. The order was originally implemented on March 14 and had previously been extended.

The agency said the decision was made “to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely.”

James D. Morgan/Getty

As COVID-19 spread around the world, cruise ships saw widespread outbreaks on board, including Holland America Line’s Zaandam, as well as Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess and Diamond Princess, which became one of the first cruise ships to experience an outbreak of the virus in February in Japan.

In total, the CDC said there have been 2,973 cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness on cruise ships from March 1 through July 10, affecting 80 percent of ships. 

“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the CDC noted, adding: “If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners… and the communities they return to.”

In addition to telling Americans not to sail, the CDC has created a color-coded system to help disembarking crew who were stuck on ships based on the status of coronavirus infections and how long the ship has been isolated, allowing some to board commercial flights home. That decision was a change from when the agency banned passengers or crew from boarding a commercial flight, making it the cruise line’s responsibility to arrange a chartered flight or other private transportation.