17 brands and counting are 'pausing'
This brings a hefty tally of ocean and river cruise brands — at least 17 as of Friday afternoon — that are calling in their ships for the time being.
During Friday's White House briefing on the coronavirus containment effort, Vice President Mike Pence noted several cruise lines were 'pausing,' a move he said was praised by the Department of Homeland Security.
For the RCL brands — Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises — it will be a 30-day hiatus on sailings to/from the US. (Saturday update: The group subsequently suspended global operations.)
'Our part to play': RCL
'We understand the gravity of the public health crisis confronting the country. And this is our part to play. So, beginning at midnight tonight, we are pausing the fleet's US sailings for 30 days,' RCL said Friday afternoon.
The company is reaching out to passengers and crew to work out the issues this decision presents for them.
'We know this adds great stress to our guests, employees and crew, and we are working to minimize the disruption,' RCL said.
NCL, Oceania, Regent
For NCLH, sailings embarking between March 13 and April 11 are canceled. This includes those of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Sailings underway will end, passengers will disembark 'as soon as possible' and will be assisted with travel arrangements.
'We understand the inconvenience that this disruption may cause our guests and travel partners during these quickly evolving and challenging times, and we appreciate their understanding as we partner with local, state, federal and global agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19,' NCLH President and CEO Frank Del Rio said.
Pence: Cruise lines considering additional steps
As for the cruise industry's coronavirus action proposal submitted earlier this week, Pence noted the lines are also currently considering 'other steps.'