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Carnival cruises extends service halts amid COVID-19

A Carnival cruise ship is shown. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh
A Carnival cruise ship is shown. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh | License Photo

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Carnival cruises announced this week extensions of halts in service amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carnival Cruise Line extended its pause in operations through March, Holland America extended its suspension of service through April, and Princess Cruises extended the halt through May 14.

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"We are sorry to disappoint our guests, as we can see from our booking activity that there is clearly a pent-up demand for cruising on Carnival," Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said in notification of cruise cancellations due to the suspension in service. "We appreciate the patience and support as we continue to work on our plans to resume operations in 2021 with a gradual, phased in approach."

All cruises were initially halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, was especially hard hit by the pandemic, with more than 2,400 COVID-19 cases among crew and passengers, and 80 deaths linked to cruise ships, according to The Miami Herald.

Cruise ships worldwide have been linked to 3,908 COVID-19 cases and 111 deaths as of early October, the newspaper reported.

In October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose not to renew its "no sail" order for passenger cruise ships, and instead issued a "conditional sailing order," requiring the cruise line industry to implement certain safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Carnival Cruise lines extended delays in returning to guest operations for four ships beyond October for scheduled dry dock enhancements to be completed in the first half of 2021.

In November, a separate family-owned company, SeaDream Yacht Club's first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the COVID-19 pandemic confirmed cases of the virus among its passengers.

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