Royal Caribbean Hopes to Start Sailing Before Competitors as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

·2 min read

Royal Caribbean has a new date in mind for when they’ll be able to resume operations.

On Thursday, the cruise giant announced that they hope to set sail again starting September 16th — which is a few days earlier than some of their competitors currently plan on cruising again.

Both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines — which along with Royal Caribbean are all members of the Cruise Lines International Association — previously announced that they had suspended operations through September 30 due to the ongoing global crisis.

The CLIA announced last month that all of its members would be extending most of their sailings until September 15.

RELATED: The Future of Cruising? Royal Caribbean Seeks Patent for 'Seaface' Mask to Be Worn On Ships

Royal Caribbean first announced in a statement on March 14 that it would be suspending global cruising for all of their fleet in response to the pandemic. This includes six different cruise lines it owns: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Tui Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Pullmanter.

Currently, they plan to resume operations on September 16 for most of their fleet, although Canadian sailings have been suspended through October 31, due to the country’s extended ban on cruise ship travel.

A number of other trips have also been canceled through 2021 — and a full list of information, which is frequently updated, can be found on the company’s website.

RELATED VIDEO: Summer Is Here! But Are Beaches Safe To Visit?

Summer Is Here! But Are Beaches Safe To Visit? Assistant Editor, Maggie O’Neill, reveals beaches “may be a better alternative” than enclosed gatherings

On March 9, the U.S. State Department issued a warning that Americans “should not travel by cruise ship” as the close quarters can foster an “increased risk of infection.” The Centers for Disease Control issued a similar statement.

Cruise ships have been the sites of numerous major outbreaks of coronavirus around the world, leaving hundreds ill and resulting in several deaths. Royal Caribbean has fared better than some of its competitors amid the pandemic, but in early April, two people were airlifted from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship near Florida.

Several states are currently experiencing record numbers of coronavirus cases, and as of Friday, there have been over 2.7 million confirmed cases in the United States and 128,825 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.