Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen a number of different ways that cruise ships have been barred from travel. There was initially the CDC No Sail Order, while more recently the cruise lines that make up the CLIA have agreed on a new No Sail Order that applies to the organization (you can read the specifics of that one over here). Perhaps even more predominant than that, however, has been cruise lines cancelling itineraries and extending their own suspensions of operations. Now, we have a new story: port cities taking the situation into their own hands. Two different ports have detailed potential plans to deal with the coronavirus situation.
Key West, Florida
Rather than making a definite decision yet, Key West is letting the people decide how they feel about cruise ships visiting. Their current path forward is to have an item on the November ballot that will allow people to vote on a restriction to ships that will be allowed. If passed, these restrictions will prevent ships with more than 1300 travelers from visiting. It would also impose a cap on how many people can disembark in Key West on any given day, with 1500 being the maximum. According to Cruise Industry News, it will also “prioritize ships with “better” environmental and public health records.” We’ll have to wait until November to see how this one pans out.
Bar Harbor, Maine
While Key West is as of now undecided, Bar Harbor in Maine recently made the decision that it does not want any cruise ships to visit for the rest of 2020. They made their decision after American Cruise Lines gave a presentation detailing potential plans they could use to lessen the health impact of their visits in the area. Apparently this did not sway them, as they did not feel okay with even very small ships with very limited capacity visiting.
This decision from Bar Harbor poses an interesting dilemma for smaller cruise lines. The CDC order only affects larger ships with greater capacities, and many small companies are not part of the CLIA. This means that they theoretically could sail if they wished; however, if towns like Bar Harbor are not interested in any cruise traffic, cruise lines like American Cruise Lines may have difficulty finding places to travel to. It’s unclear whether other cities feel the same way as Bar Harbor, but either way, the path forward for American Cruise Lines and similar cruise lines might be more complicated than initially anticipated.