Last updated: 08:37 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Say Farewell to Cruises-to-Nowhere

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) | Theresa Norton | June 11, 2015

Say Farewell to Cruises-to-Nowhere

PHOTO: The Carnival Sunshine can no longer operate a cruise-to-nowhere from Norfolk, Va., next year. (Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Say good-bye to cruises-to-nowhere from U.S. homeports.

Starting in 2016, foreign-flagged cruise ships can no longer operate voyages that do not stop at a foreign port. What isn’t immediately clear, however, is why.

The Cruise Lines International Association issued this statement: “While itinerary decisions are made by individual cruise lines, beginning in 2016, in compliance with U.S laws and regulations, foreign-flagged cruise lines operating out of U.S. ports are not to offer cruises for sale that do not include a call in a foreign port. Ships are cleared into and out of the United States by officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

When asked the reason for the change, CLIA’s spokeswoman said the statement is all she could provide at this time.

Carnival Cruise Line has apparently already started to notify passengers booked on cruises-to-nowhere. Senior Cruise Director John Heald announced what he called “disappointing news” on Facebook.

“Due to recent changes in how ships are cleared into and out of the United States by U.S. officials, certain short duration cruises without a foreign port of call are subject to itinerary changes beginning in 2016. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be permitted to operate cruises-to-nowhere. This does include the Carnival Vista’s 3 day cruise-to-nowhere from New York. Those who are booked on our cruises-to-nowhere will receive a letter very soon explaining this. So sorry.”

He added that it applies to all cruise lines. The short cruises that don't visit any ports often are sold as getaways and are booked by people who like the sea. It was unclear how the cruise-to-nowhere itineraries would be adjusted. 

Meanwhile, in Norfolk, Va., Newschannel 3 WTKR reported that Carnival issued a statement that it could no longer operate a cruise-to-nowhere departing Oct. 30, 2016, on Carnival Sunshine. The story said the company offered to rebook passengers on another voyage with a $50 onboard credit. Or, refunds would be processed.

According to the news station, Carnival issued a statement that said it will continue to operate cruises from Norfolk in 2015-16, but will adjust itineraries to 2016 departures “since we are no longer permitted to operate cruises-to-nowhere.”


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