USA Today: Morgan Hines – Carnival Cruise Line threatened to move its ships out of US waters Tuesday after canceling additional all cruises departing from US ports through June 30.
“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,” Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement provided by spokesperson Vance Gulliksen.
Carnival has 14 home ports along the east and west coasts and the Gulf of Mexico in the US, Gulliksen said.
“We remain committed to working with the Administration and the CDC to find a workable solution that best serves the interest of public health,” Duffy said in the release, adding that Carnival is asking that the “cruise industry be treated on par” with other sectors of the travel industry “as well as U.S. society at large.”
The threat comes on the heels of new guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday detailing the second phase of its Conditional Sailing Order — which the cruise industry had pushed the agency to lift the week prior.
Although there was new information on the benchmarks cruise lines need to hit before carrying paying passengers once more, there was no word on when cruising will be able to restart in U.S. waters.
A year without cruising: No ‘crystal ball’ to tell when sailing could restart amid COVID-19
The cruise industry has been shuttered in US waters since March of last year while other sectors have been allowed to continue to operate or reopen with health and safety modifications including airlines and theme parks.
But more than a year later, there is no “crystal ball” that can tell when sailing might restart, saidKelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, the leading trade group for the industry.
“I couldn’t begin to speculate as to why the cruise industry is being held out in ways that other industries are not,” Craighead told USA TODAY in February.
Other cruise lines have already taken action to move their ships to other parts of the world in order to resume operations.
On Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced its official return to service would begin in July in Europe and the Caribbean. And last month, Royal Caribbean International announced sailings in Israel, Bermuda and the Bahamas and its sibling line, Celebrity Cruises, added itineraries for St. Maarten – all with specific vaccine requirements.
Carnival said it is notifying guests whose cruises have been canceled and are providing options for a future cruise credit with added onboard credits or a full refund.
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