Carnival Cruise Line announced it plans to resume some North American sailings starting Aug. 1.
The return to service will take a “phased-in approach,” according to the company, focusing on eight ships from three homeports in Texas and Florida. Carnival also said any resumption of cruise operations “is fully dependent” on cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials.
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Since March 14, all passenger-carrying vessels operating in U.S. waters have been subject to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s no sail order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Caribbean's cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas is escorted by Australian Border Vessels and Maritime Police as it departs Sydney Harbour on April 04, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.Royal Caribbean's cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas is escorted by Australian Border Vessels and Maritime Police as it departs Sydney Harbour on April 04, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.James D. Morgan/Getty Images
“Cruise ships often involve the movement of a number of people in closed and semi-closed settings,” the CDC’s order said. “Like other close-contact environments, cruise ships facilitate the transmission of COVID-19.”
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According to the CDC, the order will remain in effect until either the secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency, the CDC rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations or when 100 days have passed from April 15 — when the order was published in the Federal Register.
Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Ecstacy cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville amid the Coronavirus outbreak on March 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Ecstacy cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville amid the Coronavirus outbreak on March 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
“There is no assurance of a return on August 1, but the eight ships remain in the schedule as we continue to work with government officials on a potential return to service,” Carnival said in a statement.
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Other major cruise companies have also announced their plans to resume service — Royal Caribbean said it plans to return to service globally on June 12 with some exceptions because of port closures, including service in Alaska, Canada and New England sailings which should resume on July 1, 2020. Norwegian Cruise Lines said it plans to relaunch cruise operations with embarkations beginning July 1.
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