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All CLIA oceangoing lines suspend cruises from/to US ports

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In an extraordinary action, Cruise Lines International Association's oceangoing lines are voluntarily suspending sailings from and to US ports.

30-day hiatus

This will be for 30 days as public health officials and the US government continue to address COVID-19.

This capped a day of rapid-fire developments for the cruise industry and the US, with President Trump declaring a national emergency to free up $50bn in federal funds to fight the virus. Late Friday lawmakers were honing in on a relief package which could possibly include some form of cruise industry support, though Seatrade Cruise News understands none was requested or expected. 

In the afternoon, before CLIA's blanket announcement, Vice President Mike Pence noted several cruise lines were 'pausing,' a move he said was praised by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Additional Carnlval North American brands

At that point, 17 cruise brands, including some river lines, had declared 'pauses.' CLIA's announcement raised that even higher and encompasses further big names like Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Cunard North America and Seabourn. (Princess Cruises previously suspended global operations.)

Unprecedented situation

'This is an unprecedented situation,' CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said. 'Our industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working under the guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exceptional vacation experiences for guests, as well as meaningful employment opportunities for crew.

'This has been a challenging time,' she continued, 'but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible.'

Takes effect March 14

The temporary suspension will take effect at 12 a.m. EST March 14.

'Putting people first'

'We do not take this decision lightly, and we want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms the commitment of this industry to putting people first,' CLIA Global Chairman Adam Goldstein said. 'During this time, we will continue to work with the CDC and others to prepare for resumption of sailings when it is appropriate.

'We know the travel industry is a huge economic engine for the United States and when our ships once again sail, our industry will be a significant contributor to fueling the economic recovery,' he added.

 Economic contributor

The cruise industry supports more than 421,000 American jobs, with every 30 cruisers supporting one US job, and annually contributes nearly $53bn to the US economy, CLIA said. Cruise activity supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the country.

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