TAMPA, Fla. - Norwegian Cruise Line announced on Tuesday that all cruises embarking through June 2021 have been suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Those with reservations will reportedly receive an automatic refund by May 4, 2021. In addition, a 10% off coupon will be applied automatically to the guest's account if they have not already received one for a previous canceled sailing.
COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue across the country. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 111 million total vaccines have been distributed in America as of Tuesday. President Joe Biden has directed all states to make all adults eligible for a vaccine by no later than May 1.
As more become vaccinated, many hope for a return to normalcy, including the ability to travel freely.
In an e-mail to FOX 13, Port Tampa Bay said there are many variables that will impact the return of cruising from Port Tampa Bay.
"Ultimately the decision to resume sailings is up to the CDC and individual cruise lines," Port Spokesperson Lisa Wolf said. "It does appear that we will not see cruises resume until fall, but again the situation is fluid."
Santiago Corrada with Visit Tampa Bay knows just how much of a trickle-down effect the industry has on the city’s economics.
"When you have people coming to take a cruise out of our port, if they do it a few nights before, they’ll stay in a hotel, if they decide to extend, they’ll stay in a hotel," Corrada said. "If we have them some period of time before they leave on a cruise ship, they frequent restaurants, they go to events, they visit with retail."
Since the pandemic began, Florida Ports Council estimates ports alone have lost out on more than $250 million in revenue.
"Every little bit of it helps for us, and we count on all of those pieces," Corrada said. "And obviously for the Port, it’s an incredibLE part of their overall business model."
A growing percentage of American travelers say they plan to take at least one leisure trip in the next three months. A weekly survey, called the Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index and conducted by Destination Analysts, reported that more than 84% of Americans already have tentative trip plans for the remainder of 2021, with June through October being the peak months for trips.
Experts from AAA say that as more people consider planning a future trip, there will be several pandemic-related restrictions in place and some things will look a lot different than the last time many people traveled.
"The entire travel experience has been transformed by COVID-19," said Paula Twidale, AAA Travel’s senior vice president. "If you’re considering travel sometime this year, it’s more important than ever to do your due diligence ahead of any trip to ensure it is safe and enjoyable."
In addition, remember there are masks and social distance requirements in place for tourists. Face coverings are required on planes, buses, trains, and all other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S., as well as while inside airports and stations.