US cruise ships cancel all trips through October

| 05/08/2020 | 44 Comments
MS Roald Amundsen, which had an outbreak of coronavirus on board last week

(CNS): As new cases of COVID-19 emerge on some of the few cruise ships that had begun sailing again, the US-based Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that its ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to “voluntarily suspend” American cruise operations until at least 31 October. Describing it as a difficult decision, the CLIA said in a statement issued Wednesday that it was in the interest of public health and safety.

On Sunday news emerged that at least 41 people on the MS Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian cruise ship, had tested positive for COVID-19 and hundreds more passengers were in quarantine awaiting test results. Hurtigruten, the company that owns the ship, stopped all leisure cruises because of the outbreak, admitting it had made mistakes.

Then, the Wilderness Adventurer, the very first ship to resume cruises from a US port since the coronavirus pandemic, returned to its home port of Juneau today after a passenger tested positive for the illness, just three days into a week-long Alaska cruise. The small vessel, which was not covered by the federal ban, had just begun its trip when the news came that a passenger’s test was positive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States had extended the ‘no sail order’ on ships last month until the end of September. The CDC said that, as of 10 July, almost 3,000 cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness have been recorded on cruise ships, including 34 deaths, and it is now evident that cases are continuing on board ships, which were instrumental in spreading the virus in the early months of the outbreak.

The statement by the cruise sector today appeared to acknowledge the ongoing challenge the industry faces, given how cruise ships appear to provide perfect conditions for the coronavirus to spread.

“We believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of US ocean-going cruise operations to 31 October,” the cruise association said. “This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry.

“However, we believe this proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior. 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 association stated.

Here in Cayman, government officials have said that they do not expect that cruise ships will be allowed to return before the second quarter of next year. However, there is a growing movement here calling for a re-examination of Cayman’s relationship with the major cruise lines and to review the type of ships that are welcomed here in future.

The cruise sector has been blamed for bringing the virus to the Cayman Islands, as the first positive case, and the only person with COVID-19 to die here, was a cruise ship passenger. After suffering a heart attack on the ship, he was brought ashore and rushed to Health City Cayman Islands in East End, and later tested positive for the virus.

While it is unlikely that ‘patient zero’ caused the spread of the virus here beyond infecting some of the healthcare workers who first took care of him, almost 500,000 passengers had visited Grand Cayman between the beginning of 2020 and 13 March, when government closed the port.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (44)

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  1. Practical Destination says:

    Raise the fees on cruise ships to use the port. This excludes the cattle boats, establishes Cayman as a location for a higher category of tourism, and maintains the cash flow for the port/gov.

    Smaller crowds downtown and guests willing to spend more on a tour, stingray outing, or private charter.

    This sounds like a better balance than all or none.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting coincidence that CIG now says the airport will stay closed until October as well.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cruise is dead. Move on and let’s enjoy the clean water and less traffic while we can.

  4. GC says:

    For many years I know that the cayman island depends on tourism and therefore I think what the government should do since majority of these people want tourism to die out in the Cayman Islands.

    I think what the government need to do is take all jobs that is being hold by permit workers and give to their caymanian people who work in the industry then they will stop talking.

  5. Anonymous says:

    For many years I know that the cayman island depends on tourism and therefore I think what the government should do since majority of these people want tourism to die out in the Cayman Islands I think what the government need to do is take all jobs that is being hold by permit workers and give to their caymanian people who work in the industry then they will stop talking.

  6. GC says:

    All unuh want is no cruise ship to come to cayman as if to say taxi drivers don’t need to make a living too. How about moving back to YOUR country. The government needs to start taxing Non-Caymanians and also send home alot of people who don’t need to be here. Unuh white people like to come to Cayman and try change shit that unuh couldn’t even change in unuh country. Bunch a idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whoa, racist much? You know Caymanians aren’t indigenous and thus there are a lot of white caymanians?

      • Anonymous says:

        …and a significant portion of taxi drivers are expatriates anyway.

      • GC says:

        You sound hurt, that’s tuff go home 🥴.

        Taxi drivers need to survive too you bum. If YOU was a taxi driver would you like it if no cruise ship came to Cayman? Just think about that 🤡.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a white caymanian man and proud of it . Unuh trace your family tree and see where you come from. Didn’t grow from the ground that’s for sure.
      Damn racist.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There are implications here for air tourism as well. “The [cruise ship] … had just begun its trip when the news came that a passenger’s test was positive.”

    Any country relying on ‘test positive before travel’ needs to take note of this lag. Its very likely impractical to avoid. Any ‘solutions’ are too long for this forum but is a problem CIG (any low-COVID tourism destination) has to work around.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s why we will require testing 72 hours in advance pre-flight and five days of isolation upon landing. The pre-flight test won’t be positive unless the person was infected a week or more before being tested so it gives us a week or more comfort there; the five days’ isolation upon landing gives us eight days since the person was tested to find out if they’re infected while they’re still in isolation. Most people get sick after a week and the rest get sick within the second week after infection except fairly rare cases that take even longer to establish themselves. We will have a 15+ day set of data on each traveller though. So when someone gets sick who intends to come here or is already here they will either not be getting on the plane or they will be in isolation here and not allowed to leave until they test negative. This is how they are working around the lag. The obvious gap in this is people who have caught the virus around the time of their pre-flight test who do not have a high enough viral load to test positive at the end of their isolation, later testing positive after having a merry time around our restaurants and bars etc. That is the fear. But it is the risk we have to take. It is not a huge hole in the policy – just an identifiable gap.

      • Anonymous says:

        Relying on a test 5 days after landing is ludicrous. Just consider a person who was infected 4 days before flying and therefore tested negative when tested 3 days before boarding.That person goes to the airport, mixes with others while boarding, on the plane, while collecting luggage, getting to their accommodation etc. In total that person infects 20 others some of whom will then test negative (about 20% according to a paper published by the CDC)after 5 days. Those false negatives are released and proceed to go to bars, restaurants, shopping etc and soon we have dozens of cases. Australia now has thousands of cases because just one person slipped through 3 weeks ago.
        Singapore sensibly announced that they will now require people to be isolated for 14 days as anything less is bound to be a disaster.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is a farce and a risk we need not take. Quarantine works. Use it!

      • Anonymous says:

        WE do not have to take the risk, and WE do not want to. The tourism pie does not really benefit us. We would rather stay safe and cater to wealthy longer term residents, and other industries that do not clutter up our infrastructure and diminish our environment and quality of life. Perhaps the tourism sector shouldn’t have chased us from the beach and refused us employment at every turn if it actually wanted the Caymanian people to risk lives for it. Not today, BoBo.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a problem that can be totally avoided through the simple measure of quarantine. A great many long term visitors, snowbirds, and future residents are more than prepared to endure and pay for it in exchange for being welcomed into our bubble. We can not only survive, but thrive, if we seize the opportunity.

      • Anonymous says:

        Doubt it.. dont know too many visitors who would put themselves through 14 days (+3 days for test results) locked up by the government effectively in prison particularly during hurricane season with no evacuation plan. Particularly those with families. Bermuda is open with lots of testing and doing fine. Just need to manage and minimise risk.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bermuda and other islands have reasonable, restrictions to welcome people back. People are not going to pay $$$$ to quarantine in their hotel room for 5 or 14 days especially if they have children. Not many will agree to be tracked on holiday. The real wealthy do not even give Cayman a blink. They are staying at staffed villas and on yachts. Forget the wealthy- be honest- just not that type of destination. Aim for family, professionals, repeat guests, and be Cayman kind and loyal to that base.

          • Anonymous says:

            And yet hundreds have been waiting to quarantine and have ban turned away by CIG because they are not residents. There are plenty of families willing to quarantine and come to stay for many months. We should be seizing the opportunities they present, with no risk to the health of our population.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just let people cruise if they want to!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Focus on education, developing new green industries and stamp out corruption. There, my 5 year plan is complete. Now I will sip some lemonade on my porch while you work out the details….ahhhh….sweet delegation.

    • Anonymous says:

      “developing new green industries”

      Like becoming an exporter of medical cannabis instead of paying top dollar to import from elsewhere?

    • Anonymous says:

      Develop new green industries? Do you mean leveraging the the talent of our great Universities and world class scientific research to develop new green industries or buy some solar panels and a few Tesla’s?

  10. Anonymous says:

    High end travellers alone can not carry the economy. They are also sick and living in parts of the world where the virus is rampant. Rich people get sick too.

    Gov should focus on retraining our population to take up positions in the finance sector as this is now the only viable industry on the Cayman Islands and government should be looking there to grow that industry to allow for more uptake in jobs.

    At some point our economy will crash without tourism and with all the moneys being spent overseas for goods.

    The government should be allowing free access for re-education and also covering fees for Caymanians who can switch to trade work or basic office duties.

    • Anonymous says:

      Run the numbers. We could do better without tourism, and the thousands of minimum wage workers imported to sustain it.

    • Anonymous says:

      8.19 Sorry to burst your bubble but the Finance sector started laying off staff and lots more going by Sept. As usual Caymanians going first whilst British, Irish, Canadians, Jamaicans, Hispanics etc. remain employed. They know Govt won’t do a darn thing about it as they’re more worried about extending Temporary permits.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It would be great to take that stand against the ships. Imagine the clean water and air from no ship traffic. Now if we can only get smog testing for cars…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Norwegian cruise ship reports covid cases

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Govt. might as well accept that the Cruise Industry is dead for the foreseeable future. Re-evaluate the Tourist sector and focus on high spending stay over Tourists.

    • Anonymous says:

      We will not see a cruise ship for well over a year. The industry should be allowed to die so that we can get on with retraining those most directly impacted. We will be better off without them in the longer run.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because high end tourists do not carry Covid. LOL

      • Anonymous says:

        High end tourists do not travel on these floating Petri dishes & spend money here in our shops, bars & restaurants. Carnival passengers come ashore & drink at the Palms (or margaritaville) but otherwise do not spend anything.

      • Anonymous says:

        Easier to track and trace 150 passengers on a plane than 3000 passengers on a Cruise Ship

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let’s just be proactive and make all cruises permanently banned!

    • Anonymous says:

      We would get incredible positive press by being the first Island to say Carnival ain’t coming back. Ever.

    • KP says:

      Would you agree for all the expats to return to their home so jobs can go to Caymanians ? No exactly stfu you bum.

      • Anonymous says:

        Huh? If a Caymanian can’t get a job it’s hardly an expats fault.

      • Anonymous says:

        The expats are going home. There are no jobs for the expats or the Caymanians in cruise tourism. That entire sector is dead for at least a year, and possibly much longer.

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