8-foot gator takes cruise around Port Canaveral

CDC has prohibited cruises in U.S. waters through July 24

An 8-foot gator is spotted at Port Canaveral.
An 8-foot gator is spotted at Port Canaveral.

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Everyone needs a vacation at some point, right?

An 8-foot alligator was spotted Wednesday morning roaming around an empty Port Canaveral.

The port tweeted about the gator, saying, “UNLIKELY CRUISE TERMINAL VISITOR: 8 foot gator pays a visit to Port Canaveral’s CT10 looking for a cruise outa here! Gives a new meaning to social distancing!”

It’s not known whether the gator had its boarding documents and passport.

The gator isn’t the only one looking to get away, but the sailing may not be smooth.

Some cruise lines are hoping to set sail later this summer, but with images of coronavirus-ravaged ships still fresh in many minds, the industry could face years of choppy water ahead.

The global cruise industry expected to carry 32 million passengers and take in $71 billion in revenue this year. That will fall by at least 50% this year, says Euromonitor International, a consulting firm. It took the industry three years to recover from the 2009 recession; this time, it will take longer, Euromonitor analyst Alex Jarman said.

Cruise lines stopped sailing in mid-March after several high-profile outbreaks at sea. More than 600 people fell ill aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess while it was quarantined off the coast of Japan, for example. Fourteen passengers died.

Since they stopped sailing, Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line — which control 75% of the market — have furloughed thousands of staff and obtained billions in bank loans to stay afloat. Major cruise companies weren’t eligible for U.S. government loans because they’re incorporated overseas.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has prohibited cruises in U.S. waters through July 24. Operators in Europe and Asia could sail sooner; some German river cruises resumed last week. But most big cruise lines are using this time to refine their plans, upgrade their ships and figure out how to resume safely.

Norwegian says it’s installing medical-grade air filters on its ships and adding medical staff, for example. And Carnival is raising the temperature in its washers and dryers to make sure napkins and sheets are fully sanitized.

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