The hope of a July restart in cruising is still there, but it is definitely possible that ships don’t return to sailing from the United States until later in the year. Today, Carnival announced it is cancelling all sailings for its fleet — except for three ships — through July 30, 2021.
Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, and Carnival Horizon are still tentatively scheduled to sail from Galveston and Miami starting early July.
“We continue to have constructive discussions with the CDC but still have many questions that remain unanswered. We are working diligently to resume sailing in the U.S. and meet the CDC guidelines,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We sincerely appreciate the continued patience and understanding of our guests and travel advisor partners and will share additional information as quickly as we can.”
There has been hope of a summer restart for U.S. cruising after both the CDC and cruise executives pointed to mid-July as possible.
The health agency has modified some rules for its Conditional Sail Order, including allowing ships to skip the simulated voyage portion of the framework if the vast majority of passengers and crew are vaccinated.
In the weeks since that change was made, however, progress to return has been slow. While the CDC modified some rules, those still in place are lengthy. And while requiring vaccinations would speed up the return process, Florida law says that companies can’t require proof of its customers. Cruise lines are stuck in the middle.
The issue is compounded by the fact that it can take months to get a ship ready for sailing in normal circumstances. The task includes boarding crew, resupplying, and taking care of any maintenance that’s needed after more than a year at sea without passengers.
Norwegian Cruise Line already said they won’t return until at least August.
Three Carnival Ships Still Scheduled to Sail in July
Still, Carnival is holding out hope that at least a handful of ships can set sail.
Carnival Breeze and Vista recently returned to Galveston, serving as a backdrop for a rally to call for a return to sailing. They are scheduled to return in July, sailing trips to the Western Caribbean. The earliest scheduled cruise is July 3, less than two months from now.
Carnival Horizon’s first departure shows as July 4, on a six-day cruise from Miami to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
Even Carnival admits that the plans for a July U.S. restart are still in flux. The press release announcing the cancellation called it a “possible” restart. Given that uncertainty, the cruise line is letting anyone booked on the July trips to cancel without penalty before May 31, receiving a full refund.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy recently shared that her cruise line had cancelled more than 2,600 trips, impacting roughly 4 million passengers.