In what’s sure to be a big boon for local summer travel, a major cruise operator has announced plans for a July relaunch.
Carnival Cruise Line announced on June 7 that it will resume operations from the Port of Galveston on July 3 with Carnival Vista. Cruises by Carnival Breeze will resume on July 15, according to a press release.
Guests eligible to board must have received their final dose of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of travel and have proof of vaccination. That regulation is in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “However, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us. As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.”
Duffy also cited the work by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, as well as other state officials, in making vaccinations available to cruise line personnel, which has essentially expedited the restart process. She also noted that assistance from Galveston Mayor Craig Brown and Port of Galveston leaders has been instrumental in the restart efforts, per a statement.
The nod to Abbott comes as the governor is doubling down on his efforts to reject any vaccination-required travel stipulations in Texas. On June 7, he signed a bill that would prohibit businesses that operate in Texas from requiring proof of vaccination, so-called “vaccination passports.” Carnival has not publicly responded.
Meanwhile, the other ship and port identified for a July restart is Carnival Horizon from PortMiami.
Plans for August sailings will be announced in the coming days, per Carnival.
As CultureMap previously reported, Carnival canceled trips from all U.S. home ports, including Galveston — except from Miami and Port Canaveral, Florida — for November and December last year. That was after a voluntary 30-day pause in operations in March 2020, plus multiple halts due to the pandemic.