(2:30 p.m. EDT) -- Florida-based Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines announced it intends to resume sailings December 18 between West Palm Beach and Freeport, Bahamas. The line also inadvertently hinted that the No-Sail Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might be lifted after it expires October 31.
"We're very pleased with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) decision to lift its No Sail Order on October 31st, 2020," Bahamas Paradise CEO Oneil Khosa said in a statement. "The past few months have been an incredible challenge for the cruise industry at large, and we’re thrilled to welcome our guests aboard for what we know is a much-needed getaway to Grand Bahama Island."
In an email to Cruise Critic, a CDC spokesperson simply stated, "The no-sail order is in effect until October 31, 2020."
The CDC's No-Sail Order has been renewed three times since coming into effect March 13 as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shut down cruise and travel operations worldwide.
The Cruise Lines International Association had also issued its own voluntary ban on the operations of cruises from North America effective until October 31.
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If indeed the No-Sail Order is lifted, cruises cannot resume immediately. Cruise executives have previously stated that it could take between 30 and 60 days to "stand-up" (industry-speak for "make ready") a ship for return to service. Such a process would include crewing up, restocking supplies and provisions, and carrying out cosmetic maintenance work such as hull painting.
Bahamas Paradise plans to restart voyages to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island using the newer Grand Classica instead of the 1987-built Grand Celebration. Grand Classica, which was built in 1991 as Costa Classica, has 100 fewer cabins and more public space per passenger than its fleetmate, making it a better choice for physical distancing requirements.
Restart plans for Grand Celebration, along with a date when itineraries to Nassau might resume, were not announced.
Other major cruise brands, including Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, have suspended sailings from North American homeports until at least December 1. Royal Caribbean had hinted earlier this week that a return-to-service announcement could be imminent.
As of this writing, Bahamas Paradise cruises were no longer available to book using the company's online booking platform. A webpage redirects prospective passengers to a toll-free number