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American Cruise Lines will sail in June. When will other cruise lines return?

The American Song is scheduled to cruise the Columbia and Snake rivers in late June.
The American Song is scheduled to cruise the Columbia and Snake rivers in late June.
(American Cruise Line)

Is America ready to sail again?

Not yet known, but American Cruise Lines is.

The U.S.-based line is planning to sail June 20, more than a month before the expiration of the “no-sail order” issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

American’s ships carry 100 to 190 passengers, small enough to qualify under a CDC regulation that specifies the no-sail order “applies to passenger-carrying vessels ... with the capacity to carry 250 or more individuals (passengers and crew).” The order, issued to contain the coronavirus outbreak, is set to expire July 24.

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American, a luxury carrier, has a fleet of 12 ships. It will resume sailing the Snake and Columbia rivers in the Pacific Northwest on June 20 and the Mississippi River on June 28.

“Our ships are all voluntarily sailing at 75% capacity regardless of the fact that at capacity we are still under 250 passengers and crew limit for the CDC rule,” said spokesperson Alexa Paolella.

Meanwhile, other lines say they expect to begin sailing in August or later. (See list below.)

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in Southern California, cruising won’t get underway until at least the end of August, according to current plans. The cruise ship docks at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are currently empty, a rare occurrence.

The Carnival Panorama is usually docked at Long Beach.
(Carnival Cruise Lines)

Carnival Panorama, which usually docks at the Port of Long Beach, and Royal Princess, a regular at the Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro, are in the Philippines. The vessels are part of Carnival Corp.'s effort to repatriate about 26,000 crew members who needed to return to their homes when cruise travel ceased due to the virus.

Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Spirit, which sail regularly from San Pedro, are on the East Coast, awaiting an OK to resume operations.

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Carnival typically staffs its 27 ships with about 29,000 crew members for deck, engine and hotel functions, according to the company’s website. About 3,000 are needed to man the ships when passengers aren’t aboard. By early June, Carnival expects to have relocated the rest by using 12 of its ships to sail to Africa, Asia, Europe, India, Latin America and the Caribbean, supplemented by charter air flights and commercial flights when available.

Carnival Panorama, a new ship that began sailing weekly trips in December from Long Beach to the Mexican Riviera, is scheduled to resume that itinerary in September. (Prices begin at $314 per person, double occupancy for an inside cabin.)

On Oct. 3, Royal Princess is scheduled for a weeklong sail along the California coast (from $399 per person, double occupancy, inside cabin) and is expected to resume sailing to the Mexican Riviera later that month.

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Sunset at Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Sunset at Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
(John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

American’s weeklong voyages start at $5,880 per person on the Columbia and Snake rivers and $4,855 per person for a Mississippi River cruise from Memphis to New Orleans.

Most cruise lines have announced dates when they will resume sailing, but all are subject to change.

Here is a partial list of the largest carriers:

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Celebrity Cruises: August
Crystal Cruises: September
Cunard: August (although all Alaska voyages canceled)
Disney Cruises: July 28
Norwegian Cruise Line: August
Oceania Cruises: August
Regent Seven Seas: August
Royal Caribbean: August
Seabourn: Oct. 14
Viking Cruises: September
Windstar Cruises: September


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