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Carnival Cruise Line extends pause on US departures through April

Carnival Cruise Line extends pause on US departures through April
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Carnival Cruise Line on Friday said it will extend a suspension of departures in the U.S. and other parts of the world at least through April, dealing another blow to an industry hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Carnival Corp.’s flagship brand is delaying U.S. departures through April 30 and operations in Australia until May 19, according to a company statement.

European cruises that were slated to start between May 1 and Oct. 31 have been canceled. The company is offering full refunds or future credits for any affected customers.

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The cruise ship industry has faced restrictions in the U.S. and elsewhere during the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November lifted its "no sail" order for cruise ships in U.S. waters as part of a phased approach to resuming travel. Later that month, at least five passengers tested positive on SeaDream 1, a ship that left Barbados and had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island and Tobago Cays.

The travel industry has been particularly hard-hit during the pandemic amid concerns about virus transmission in close quarters and spreading the disease to other parts of the country or world.

Industry leaders say they are hopeful that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will help travel companies resume normal operations in the latter half of 2021 or 2022.