Port Canaveral CEO Captain John W. Murray on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the cruise industry.
The voluntary no sail cruise extension that has been agreed upon by members of the Cruise Lines International Association is likely to hurt the port city of Málaga in Costa del Sol, Spain, according to local news outlet Euro Weekly News.
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In a statement issued last Wednesday, the global cruise industry association announced that its ocean-going cruise line members had agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least Oct. 31, which is a commitment the Spanish publication suggests will ripple through Málaga’s already low tourism rate.
And with 26 global cruise lines as members, including giants like Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Disney in addition to six European regional cruise lines, further suspensions by the CLIA could be viewed as a setback.
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Current booking portals from CLIA members reflect the voluntary agreement with no options for cruises to and from Spain before the designated date. Though, the organization’s proposed suspension could always be extended again depending on how the coronavirus pandemic pans out. The chosen Oct. 31 date is the CLIA’s third cruise suspension since March and exceeds the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s proposed “No Sail Order,” which was extended to Sept. 30 last month.
Tourism has restarted in Spain, according to the country’s official tourism website. However, there are no mentions of available cruising on the website’s COVID-19 travel guide.
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Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is shown docked at the Port of Málaga in Spain. (iStock)
In terms of cruise itineraries set for ports in Spain, Carnival is allowing customers to book voyages scheduled for May 2021 while Royal Caribbean has voyages scheduled for April 2021. Norwegian is allowing customers to book as soon as November 2020 while Disney has an automated message at the top of its website that shows it has suspended all cruising until at least the end of October.
Last year, Spanish ports welcomed 10 million cruise passengers, according to a report from Reuters. The outlet also stated 12% of the country’s GDP was made up from the cruise sector.
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More than 329,780 people in Spain have been infected by the novel coronavirus while more than 5.18 million Americans have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard.