Disney Wonder

Disney Cruise Line announced this week it would cancel all of its cruises through at least Dec. 6. Pictured here, Disney Wonder, which sails from Galveston, won't take on passengers until Dec. 11

GALVESTON

One of the three cruise lines usually operating from the Port of Galveston said it won't return to business until December at the earliest.

Disney Cruise Line announced this week it would cancel all of its cruises through at least Dec. 6. Disney Wonder, which sails from Galveston, won't take on passengers until Dec. 11

The announcement means cancellation of five Disney cruises from the port. Disney has run seasonal cruises from the Port of Galveston since 2012. The seasonal cruises typically start in November and end in January.

The company said it was cancelling cruises as it continues "to refine health and safety protocols for our future return to service and await direction from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Guests who were scheduled to cruise on the cancelled sailings were offered credits for future trips or refunds.

The cancelled sailings are the first COVID-19 delays Disney has made at the Port of Galveston this year. The Wonder last sailed out of the port on Jan. 13, two months before the pandemic forced the worldwide cancellation of cruises.

The Wonder was originally set to return to the port Nov. 20 for the first of 12 cruises between then and the end of the year.

As of Wednesday, Royal Caribbean Cruise and Carnival Cruise Line, the two other companies that operate from Galveston, were still among the companies hoping to return to cruising by Nov. 1. But even that date, which was announced by the Cruise Lines International Association in August, is tentative.

Beyond that tentative date, there has been little announced about what cruising in the United States will look like when it returns.

One of Carnival's European brands, Costa Cruises, began operating in September, and another European brand, AIDA, also plans to being operating this fall, the company said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

The filing didn't indicate any dates for when cruises in the United States might resume.

"Our portfolio includes many regional brands which clearly position us well for a staggered return to service in the current environment," the company said, noting that customers were continuing to book cruises as far out as late 2021.

In the same report, Carnival announced it expected to post a $2.9 billion loss in the third quarter of 2020 and planned to sell 18 ships from its fleet.

Locally, port officials have only talked in broad strokes about what changes they anticipate when cruises. Those changes include limits to ship capacity and to the number of people allowed in a cruise terminal at one time; and potentially adding technology to the cruise terminals to automatically sanitize some areas of the terminal as people arrive for their cruises.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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