Carnival Cruise Line receives OK from CDC on port plans for Florida, Texas cruises

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corp.’s flagship line, may soon be able to set sail with passengers on board.

The cruise line is the latest to receive the green light from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention onportions of its restart plans as it prepares to set sail in U.S. waters after forming agreements with three home ports: Texas’ Port of Galveston and Florida’s PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

CDC guidelines say home ports must agree to support cruise operators with additional public health and operational resources before their ships can move forward with either test cruises or full guest operations.

“These agreements move us one step closer to sailing with our loyal guests,” Lars Ljoen, executive vice president and chief maritime officer for Carnival Cruise Line, said in the statement. “We appreciate the support from not just these three home port partners, but all of our home ports, that are eager to have us back as soon as possible.”

It was not immediately clear if Carnival plans to sail test cruises with volunteer passengers or full sailings with paying customers, the latter of which have more stringent vaccination requirements. USA TODAY has reached out for more information. 

Which Carnival cruise ships will sail first? 

The Carnival Vista cruise ship is seen sailing during a full Pink Super moon in Miami Beach, on April 26, 2021. (Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA, AFP via Getty Images)

Carnival Horizon will sail from Miami, and Carnival Vista and Breeze will sail from Galveston, according to the statement. The three ships are set to be the first Carnival ships to carry guests as the line plans to return to service this July. 

The company also expects to announce its plans for Port Canaveral “over the coming days.”

“This is the exciting news that we have been waiting for,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray told Florida Today, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. “A tremendous amount of cooperative effort went into these agreements as we worked closely with our partner, Carnival Cruise Line. This is a monumental step to getting the cruise industry up and running once again.”

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean International was the first cruise line to receive approval to launch test sailing in U.S. waters.

Royal Caribbean is first cruise line with CDC approval for a test sailing in US waters (Photo: Courtesy Royal Caribbean International)

Royal Caribbean:named first cruise line to receive CDC approval for a test sailing in US waters

The following day, Celebrity Cruises – a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group – announced that it was the first cruise line to receive CDC approval to sail ships with paying passengers on board. 

Celebrity Cruises:named the first cruise line to receive CDC approval to sail with paying passengers in June

In order to skip test sailings, Celebrity Cruises plans to have 95% of passengers and 100% of crew members fully vaccinated before its ships set sail – despite the requirements being at odds with a Florida state law banning vaccine passports.

Contributing: Dave Berman, Florida Today

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