With cruise lines banned from sailing in the U.S. since March 2020, more than a year since the coronavirus impacted the world, Carnival Cruise Line, the largest cruise company in the world, has threatened to pull its ships from U.S. ports if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not lift its ban on sailing.
The cruise line’s comments come in tandem with a number of other actions against the CDC to force the resumption of cruise travel. Earlier this month, Florida health officials filed suit against U.S. health authorities in a bid to force the restart of cruise travel. Florida is a major cruise hub and the largest in the U.S.
“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,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise president in a statement.
Ms. Duffy said Carnival Cruise Line is ready to work with the CDC to find a “workable solution that best serves the interest of public health.” But with other sectors of the travel and leisure industry being allowed to operate, among them the airlines, the cruise lines see a different standard being enforced against their sector.
Though the CDC lifted its “No-Sail Order” in October, the move did not allow cruise lines to make voyages. Instead, it set a framework known as a “Conditional Sail Order” that puts in place guidelines cruise lines must meet before leaving U.S. ports. These guidelines include mock voyages to demonstrate how cruise lines would resume operations without spreading Covid-19. The Conditional Sail Order has an expiration date of Nov. 1, 2021.
Other countries such as the U.K., Singapore and Italy have authorized cruises or set a clear target date for them to set sail. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, almost 400,000 passengers have sailed since some countries began to allow cruises again in July.
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