The first US cruise line hoping to resume sailings after the Covid-19 pandemic has been forced to delay plans after further spikes in the virus across many states.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line extended the delay to the resumption of operations by a month until August 28.

The two-ship line runs short cruises from Florida to the Bahamas and had hoped to make a return at the end of July.

Chief executive Oneil Khosa said: “Upon announcing that we would resume cruising in late July, we were thrilled to see a great deal of demand, demonstrating that there is a strong appetite amongst travellers for our unique short-cruise ‘microcation’ product.

“At this time, we remain the only cruise line in the country to have received a ‘green status’ from the CDC [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] on our no sail response plan, meaning we have met all requirements in providing a safe environment for our crew members to work and disembark via non-commercial travel.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve continued preparations to return to Grand Bahama Island while keeping an eye on the overall landscape, which continues to evolve.”

But he added: “In recent days, amidst a spike in Covid-19 cases in many states across the country, we’ve seen mounting pressures to modify reopening plans and consideration of the return of stay-at-home orders.

“Additionally, new restrictions from the Bahamas have been announced, requiring travellers to present a negative swab test prior to entry. In an effort to provide the safest environment for our passengers and crew, we have no choice but to further postpone our sailing schedule.

“Our current plan is to resume cruises on August 28, 2020. This is incredibly disappointing to our entire team, but the decision was made after very careful consideration of all factors, and we believe this is in everyone’s best interest.

“We look forward to welcoming guests back onboard and appreciate everyone’s patience throughout this process.”