American cruise industry ramps up for US cruise restart following CDC update

The North American cruise industry is getting ready for a resumption of cruises from US ports following the CDC’s key updates to the Conditional Sailing Order.

Signs of a potential US cruise restart were apparent this week with Carnival Cruise Line’s repositioning of ships to Galveston, Texas, and PortMiami’s move to begin vaccinating cruise terminal employees.

US cruise restart in the works

The Carnival Breeze and the the Carnival Vista return to the Port of Galveston on Sunday, May 2, 2021 with an escort by the Bay Houston Towing Company Tugboat Wesley A.

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Carnival Cruise Line’s move to position two ships in Galveston was done ahead of a cruise rally being held Monday. However, both ships, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze, were Carnival’s Galveston-based ships prior to the pandemic, and will likely remain so following a US cruise restart.

Carnival Cruise Line launched the first year-round cruise program from Galveston in 2000 and said it is the only cruise operator with three year-round ships based at the Port of Galveston, carrying roughly 750,000 guests annually.

It’s likely that the cruise line will keep the ships in Galveston ahead of an expected US cruise restart this summer following the CDC’s updates to the Conditional Sailing Order.

The cruise rally held Monday was organized by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and was attended by Carnival President Christine Duffy and Galveston Mayor Dr. Craig Brown. The event was held to discuss the economic impact of the pause in operation that has lasted over a year.

Cruise crew receive COVID-19 shots at PortMiami

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Also this week, Miami-Dade County and Nomi Health started to provide cruise crew members with COVID-19 vaccination at PortMiami, the primary cruise port in the United States.

Crew members aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas received COVID-19 vaccinations. A total of 900 crew members were vaccinated, according to PortMiami.

“Vaccinating crew members is key to getting passenger cruises safely sailing again, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work – including tens of thousands here in our community,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“Miami-Dade County is committed to getting shots in arms and to making vaccination as accessible as possible for all, particularly the workers who power our economy,” Cava added.

In the CDC’s updates to the Conditional Sailing Order, it indicated that cruise lines can skip simulated cruises and other pre-resumption steps if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated.

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