Cruise Lines Extend Voluntary Cruise Suspension in Brazil Until Feb. 18

Costa Fascinosa

The voluntary cruise pause in Brazil has been extended again. According to CLIA Brazil, the cruise lines that serve the local market have decided to expand their operational suspension by another 14 days. 

“The decision aims to analyze the evolution of the country's epidemiological situation and also to continue the necessary discussions with the competent national, state and municipal authorities for the resumption of the season,” the group said in a statement.

According to the most recent local regulations and protocols, all cities and states visited by the ships need to approve the restart, CLIA said.  

With the extension, the domestic operations in Brazil are now suspended until Feb. 18.

Five cruise ships from Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises are currently deployed in the country.

The vessels are anchored off the Port of Santos and ready to resume service, “with health protocols fully implemented and over seven thousand Brazilian and foreign crew members onboard and ready for work,” according to CLIA.

After starting in November, the Brazilian domestic season came to a complete halt in early January.

At the time, CLIA Brazil announced that three-week voluntary suspension of service was driven by the “uncertainty regarding the application and interpretation” of the operational protocols used for the local program in the country.

The five cruise ships embarked over 130,000 passengers before the pause, the association stated, with only 1,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases among them.

The number “represents less than one percent of the people served by the vessels, which includes guests and crew members,” it added, highlighting the health and safety measures being used by the vessels while sailing in the country.

The local protocol includes mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for both guests and crew, in addition to preboarding testing, the use of facemasks, and reduced guest capacity.

Cruise lines also perform frequent testing onboard and enforce social distancing.

When cases are identified, the protocols “help maximize containment with rapid response procedures designed to protect all guests and crew, as well as the communities the ships visit,” CLIA explained.

“Given this supervision and the exceptionally high rate of vaccination required on board, the incidence of serious illness is dramatically lower than on land, and hospitalizations have been rare,” the association added.

The Brazilian 2021-2022 season runs until mid-April and was expected to attract more than 360,000 passengers, with an impact of nearly $310 million to the local economy. 

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