Carnival Cruise Line has seen strong growth in cruise bookings for the latter half of 2021 and 2022, driven by optimism that vaccines will provide a safe environment for cruises to resume in the US and globally.
However, while Carnival anticipates further demand as more effective vaccines for COVID-19 become available, it has not yet stated whether it will make vaccinations a requirement for guests to cruise with the line.
While the cruise line has been developing new anti-COVID-19 operational procedures, some of which have already been made public, new vaccines from several major pharmaceutical companies have been rolled out in the US, UK and dozens of other countries.
The roll out of the vaccines mean that Carnival has had to take a new direction in its return to cruising plans, according to Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line, especially with US President Biden having recently announced an increase in vaccine production and distribution.
“With the news that the vaccine will be widely distributed, and available to most Americans starting this spring. There is a growing sense that many activities including cruising will be able to find a secure route to return,” she said.
However, Carnival, like several other major cruise lines, has further cancelled cruises into May, 2021, as it tries to meet the requirements of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order, while also waiting to see how the vaccine roll out affects those regulations.
Some questions Carnival itself does not yet known the answer to is whether crew will be required to get the vaccine, or whether the CDC will force it to only accept vaccinated guests. However, Duffy used the video update to call on all potential passengers to get vaccinated.
“We also know that many of you have been asking about the vaccine,” she said. “We do not have any details yet on whether it will be required or if how and when we might be able to secure vaccines for our crew.”
“What I can say at this time is that if you’re able to get a vaccine in your home country that you should so,” she added.
Duffy also said that Carnival Corporation is a financially sound company with enough cash to keep going throughout the crisis.
While it has secured extensive access to cash through loans and credit facilities, bookings have been showing great numbers, suggesting a strong recovery once cruises resume.
Carnival Cruise Line has also been busy making enhancements to its vessels, from fresh paint around the ships to deep cleaning all areas. At least eight cruise ships will go into dry-dock this year.