In what may amount to little more than a technicality, on Thursday the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its cruise ship no-sail order through September.
The extension comes as little surprise as the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States continues to soar. The CDC originally placed the order on March 14 and it was set to expire on July 24. Now cruise companies will have to wait until at least October to return to operations.
The effect of the CDC's extension may not have a significant impact on the cruise industry as the vast majority of major carriers had already voluntarily suspended operations until September 15. Many companies, such as Carnival, had even extended their voluntary suspensions into October.
Though the CDC's decision may not come as a surprise, it does tend to add additional uncertainty to the cruise industry. Cruise companies have had to continuously push back their anticipated dates to return to operations. For example, Carnival initially indicated that it would resume sailing on August 1 and even began selling bookings, only to later cancel those cruises. And at last notice Royal Caribbean had planned to return to operations in September after the industry's current voluntary suspension of activities was set to expire. Now, that plan will have to be scrapped as well.
The fact is that with the pandemic currently taking an uncertain trajectory, the most certain conclusion is that there will be more uncertainty to come.