When Americans make summer travel plans, there’s no shortage of options, from glitzy casinos in Vegas to family-friendly theme parks across the country. But cruises are not one of them unless the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acts quickly.
We need to be able to get those cruise lines back in business, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a roundtable discussion with cruise industry executives in Port Canaveral.
In Florida, we have everything but cruise ships because the federal government does not allow cruise ships.
READ MORE: The Combat Brewery between the cruise lines and the CDC behind the stop.
DeSantis’ comments were echoed by Carnival Cruise Line chief executive Christine Duffy, whose company operates out of 14 U.S. ports and was founded more than a year ago.
Airlines, hotels, resorts, all sectors of the travel and tourism industry are gearing up for summer travel, Duffy said. Our ships are ready.
After outbreaks were detected on several ships last March, the CDC issued a no-action order at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 30th. In October 2020, the health authority released a four-phase plan to revitalize the industry, which it called a conditional boating order. But it only set the course for the first phase, and almost five months later there is still no clear path for the ships to return to sea.
Cruise lines call at ports on the high seas
For more than a year, cruise lines have had to raise and spend billions of dollars to maintain their fleets. Today they are taking matters into their own hands, and in recent weeks the number of announcements of summer cruises from the Caribbean and European ports has increased.
Thousands of Americans are expected to travel to these ports to take a cruise, but that won’t help the tens of thousands of workers in ports from New York to Alaska and especially in Florida, home to some of the world’s largest cruise lines.
READ MORE: Cruise CEO: The industry has proven that it can work safely
If you say they can’t cruise in the U.S., people will continue to cruise anyway, DeSantis said. They let people fly to the Bahamas. They’re leaving the Bahamas. They will come from other places.
The governor is urging the CDC to allow the departure by the end of June, saying the current situation is costing the ports millions of dollars and putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
Industrial closing costs in Florida billion dollars
A September 2020 report by the Federal Maritime Commission estimated that Florida lost $3.2 billion in the first six months of the pandemic due to the closure of the cruise industry.
Florida also has far-reaching indirect impacts throughout the state, from airports and ground transportation to hotels, restaurants and destinations.
Work is very, very important. And it’s not just people who work for the cruise industry, DeSantis said. It has a knock-on effect on all kinds of small businesses, family businesses that serve the cruise industry.
Pressure on the CDC to allow cruise lines to resume operations has increased daily in recent weeks. Cruise Lines International and the American Society of Travel Advisors asked us to develop an action plan for the future.
The only response from the health department was a statement confirming the conditional navigation order, which was in effect until January 1. November has been extended, although it may be amended or repealed at any time if the CDC so decides.
Possible legal options examined to force CDC to act
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody participated in a roundtable discussion and Governor DeSantis stated that legal options for enforcement of the CDC were discussed.
The federal government is exceeding its authority by isolating and blacklisting the cruise industry, while other tourism businesses continue to operate within health guidelines, Moody said.
This harsh federal surplus hurts our nation’s economy and in particular Florida’s economy and our vital tourism industry. That’s why we’re calling on Gov. Biden to lift the antiquated freeze on the cruise industry in Florida and put the workers who depend on this important industry back to work.
Carnival Duffy says we need answers now.
According to Duffy, a decision must be made quickly to save the summer season. So far, Carnival Cruise Line has not followed the lead of other shipping companies such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Crystal Cruises, which have stationed their ships in offshore ports.
We need time to navigate, Duffy said. If we want to sail in June, we’ll have to make some adjustments in the coming weeks.
READ MORE: Royal Caribbean says departures from the United States could begin in July.
Many advertised cruises in the Caribbean and Mediterranean require full vaccination of adult guests and crew. In addition, landing and release tests will be conducted and electronic contact detection will be used to contain a possible outbreak. In addition, different hygiene protocols are applied on the ships.
CLIA reports that in the past eight months, more than 400,000 guests have traveled on limited cruises in Europe and Asia, with very few cases of COVID-19 detected. The vast majority of these passengers have not yet been vaccinated.
Vaccination efforts in the U.S. are now continuing at a steady pace – all Floridians 18 and older are eligible for vaccination as early as age 5. The KOVID-19 vaccine is due out in April – and cruise officials and politicians say it’s time to raise the anchor and revitalize the ailing industry.
We need to find a way forward, DeSantis said. We will get many people back to work in this state if we can do that.
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