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Major Cruise Lines Schedule Departures But There's No Guarantee Ships Will Sail

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some major cruise lines have schedule departures in April and May, but there's no guarantee they will sail. So if you are looking for those cheap deals on your favorite cruise, you might be disappointed.

Want a better idea when cruise ships will take the high seas? A good indicator is test cruises.

The Centers for Disease Control's Framework for Conditional Sailing mandates test cruises.

However, that still appears to be months away.

"It seems like they are slow playing it a little bit," said Tanner Callais, the founder of cruise information website

Callais' website wonders if cruises will even happen in 2021. In person, he suggests possibly summer.

"My opinion is that cruises are not going to sail 'til the vaccine is widely distributed," he said.

Another issue is if cruise lines can adhere to CDC guidelines, which are massive and complex.

"In my view, and it is only my opinion, that you see any effort at going to the high seas until next year. I am talking 2022," said Jim Walker, a maritime lawyer.

Walker maintains the website that's often critical of the cruise industry.

"The cruise lines say we are left holding the bag because we are waiting for the CDC to tell us about all the requirements," Walker said.

Then and only then, will cruise lines launch their test cruises. How far down the line is that?

"The CDC doesn't know, cruise line executives don't know. I don't know for certain, but my opinion, from what I have seen, we can get back to cruising sometime this year," Callais said.

More than 150,000 people signed up to participate in the test cruises. That signals another issue – hundreds of thousands of passengers who have had trips canceled, postponed, can't get refunds are set to sail. Those ships won't sail at full capacity, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

"I think deals in general will be few and far between simply because there is a pent up demand and there is a limited supply," Callais said.

"There is a demand for cruising, but can it be in a safe and prudent way? I am not sure," Walker said.

Most major cruise lines have canceled departures through April and May. There are some cruise lines operating in Europe, but they are off limits to American travelers.

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