(12:15 p.m. EST) -- Cruise Lines International Association members have extended their suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through December 31, 2020.
The news comes just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its No-Sail Order, replacing it with a framework for provisional sailing that includes a strict new set of health protocols that cruise lines are studying ahead of restarting.
Yesterday, the four major cruise line groups Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival Corp. and MSC Cruises confirmed they would suspend operations through December.
CLIA additionally confirmed its members will use the rest of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety with the guidance of outside public health experts and the CDC.
CLIA issued the following statement on behalf of its members:
"As we continue to plan for a gradual and highly controlled return of cruise operations in the U.S., CLIA members are committed to implementing stringent measures to address COVID-19 safety, including 100 percent testing of passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities and trial sailings, among many others.
"We share a common goal with the CDC to protect public health, which has been affirmed and reaffirmed consistently throughout the industry's response to the global pandemic. As we work to operationalize a path forward, our members have agreed to extend our existing suspension of U.S. operations through December 31.
"This action will provide additional time to align the industry's extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.
"We recognize the devastating impact that the pandemic continues to have on the 421,000 Americans whose livelihoods are connected directly to cruise operations. We will work with urgency to advance a responsible return to cruising while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health."
When the CDC lifted its No-Sail Order last week, there was hope that lines might restart operations in December.
However, the new protocols are proving highly complex, and cruise lines are taking their time to understand the detail and consider how they'd implement the finer points before committing to a restart.