Extending Cruise Ban, C.D.C. Says Ships Helped Spread Coronavirus


One company, Norwegian Cruise Lines, said it felt it had exceeded recommended C.D.C. guidance, because crew members were not just asked but “encouraged” to wear face coverings, the order said. Disney acknowledged that some of its asymptomatic-infected crew members had not quarantined until after the results of shipwide testing came in.

The companies created a task force to come up with recommendations on how to safely sail, but according to the C.D.C., the group will not produce its findings for several months.

If unrestricted cruise-ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, it would put “substantial unnecessary risk” on communities, health care workers, port personnel and federal employees, the order said, as well as placing passengers and crew members at increased risk.

The agency’s previous no-sail order was set to expire July 24.

Disney said only one of its four ships, the Disney Wonder, had an outbreak on board —but only after passengers had disembarked. The company tested every crew member on board and isolated non-essential crew to their cabins for three weeks in April. Half the 174 crew who tested positive had no symptoms, the company said.

The ship has not had a positive case since May 8, Disney said.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, whose failures were specifically cited in the C.D.C. document, released statements in response to the order that did not specifically address the allegations.

Norwegian said it canceled trips through September, as well as cruises embarking from or calling on ports in Canada in October. “We continue to partner with the C.D.C. and other authorities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by prioritizing the health and safety of our passengers and crew,” the company said.

Royal Caribbean said it would suspend operations through September to comply with the order. “The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our top priority,” the company said.

By Frances Robles

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