CDC Official “Astonished” That Cruise Companies Continue To Book During Pandemic

Among those in the travel industry, it is no secret that the cruise sector has been effectively paused since March. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued an order preventing major international cruise ships from calling on the United States through September, effectively shutting down much of the world’s cruise business. But despite the cruise travel ban nearly all major lines continue to sell cruise vacations.

In March, April, and May, the cruise lines were in extremely severe financial distress. Investors had serious doubts about whether the major cruise companies would remain solvent. Not only were the companies unable to launch cruises for the near future, they were also beset by thousands of refund requests totaling millions of dollars. Perhaps this is why the cruise companies continued to sell cruise voyages despite the fact that it would be unlikely that those voyages would set sail.

Yoahoo! Finance quotes Dr. Martin Cetron, director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC, as saying that “It is astonishing and it’s heartbreaking,” that the cruise companies would continue to sell tickets before having taken the necessary measures to ensure passenger safety. Cetron suggested that perhaps cruise companies have not been ready to accept the full implications of the coronavirus pandemic, saying “maybe there is a level of denial of the magnitude of the problem and there’s a certain amount of wishful thinking in recovery.”

For its part the Cruise Line Industry Association, an industry advocacy and lobbying organization, acknowledges that the cruise industry had not anticipated the challenges presented by thevirus. “I think our experience through the four to five months that this has been an active phenomenon is that just has been more difficult and more challenging than we had anticipated in many cases,” said Cruise Lines International Association Global Chair Adam Goldstein.