The cruise ship industry will be allowed to take to the high seas again beginning Nov. 1, after the Centers for Disease Control and the White House Coronavirus Task Force on COVID-19 reached an agreement to extend the no-sail ban set to expire today.
The CDC wanted to extend the cruise ban all the way to Feb. 15, but compromised to extend it another month to Oct. 31, coinciding with the self-imposed ban industry stalwarts like Carnival (NYSE:CCL)(NYSE:CUK), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH) agreed to independently.
A wave of good news
It was also reported cruise line CEOs are scheduled to meet with the White House on Friday to discuss when and how they will be allowed to resume their businesses again.
Deaths associated with coronavirus are declining after six months, though some fear the death toll could double by the new year if a second wave strikes. Some of the most severe outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred on cruise ships.
However, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian have developed safety and social distancing protocols to help prevent a similar outbreak, and though booking volumes are down compared to historical levels, the cruise operators report there is still a robust level of new bookings.
Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Rank Del Rio recently told analysts as much as 75% of of the cruise line's bookings are cash, not the credits it offered customers for previous cancellations, and 60% of those booking cruises for next year are repeat customers, suggesting consumers may hold minimal fear of a pandemic repeat.