With several cruise lines extending the suspension of their operations into May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a “no sail order” that could last for 100 days to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the CDC order, cruise ships are prevented from boarding passengers and setting sail on their cruise schedules until the Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 public health emergency expires, the CDC director modifies or rescinds the no sail decision, or 100 days has passed since the no sail order was issued into the Federal Register.

For the next 100 days, or until one of the other restrictions is lifted, cruise lines must remain at port or at anchor, according to the CDC. They must comply with all government requests and may not board or disembark any crewmembers during this timeframe.

"The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.

Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian, Disney, Costa, Viking, and Princess Cruises have idled down their operations because of the coronavirus. There are, however, some cruise ships still at sea with passengers aboard as these companies struggle to find ports that will allow them to disembark.

According to the CDC, at least 10 cruise ships in recent weeks have reported crew or passenger that tested positive for COVID-19 or were experiencing respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illnesses. The agency said there are currently about 100 cruise ships at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast. Nearly 80,000 crew members are onboard these ships.

Carnival Cruise Line boat A Carnival Cruise Line ship is pictured here. Photo: AFP/Mark RALSTON