Carnival Cruise Line Officials Threaten To Sail Outside US Ports

Officials from Carnival Cruise Line announced they are considering moving their ships out of ports in the United States due to the restrictions that remain in place on the cruise industry.

According to the New York Daily News, Carnival President Christine Duffy said the lack of support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a clear path to the restart of sailing in the U.S. might be enough to move the cruise business to another country.

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“While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year,” Duffy said.

Carnival was forced to cancel all cruises from U.S. ports through June 30, with passengers booked on the impacted voyages having the choice of receiving a future cruise credit—plus onboard credit package—or a full refund.

The CDC lifted its original no-sail order for cruise ships in October 2020 and replaced it with a Conditional Sail Order (CSO). The CSO required that cruise lines conduct simulated sailings, but the CDC provided no further instructions for months, forcing cruise lines to move itineraries to international ports.

Earlier this week, Norwegian Cruise Line announced its return to service at a reduced capacity, with new itineraries sailing from Europe and the Caribbean, all of which will operate under the new SailSAFE Health and Safety program to keep passengers protected during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Norwegian’s announcement came just a few hours after officials from the cruise line sent a letter to the CDC requesting approval to restart U.S. sailings in July.

In addition, Royal Caribbean International announced last month that it would operate new seven-night cruises to Greece and Cyprus on the Jewel of the Seas starting July 10.

The CDC signaled Tuesday that some cruising could restart from the U.S. sometime this summer.

“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order,” the statement said. “This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers; hopefully, by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings.”

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