With no restart date, US cruise ships will sail elsewhere for busy summer season

Cruise lines look to Europe, Caribbean as CDC no-sail order continues in America

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Because there still is no restart date from the CDC, Port Canaveral says America’s cruise ships will be working in other countries this summer.

While the shutdown continues here, Europe has been cruising since last August so the port’s CEO said the ships are going back to work, just not in the U.S.

“You can’t blame them for trying to seek other ways to earn an income during their heaviest season, the summer season,” Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray said.

In America, the CDC ordered ports to complete multiple phases to work toward returning to cruising.

Those phases started in November.

Murray told port commissioners Wednesday that Port Canaveral is only in phase 2 of at least 4.

“I can’t wait for the day that I come up here and I start my presentation announcing a date on when we’re going to start cruising, but today’s not that day,” Murray said. “Everyone’s trying to work within these guidelines but I can tell you that there’s nothing easy about it,” he said.

Florida is suing the federal government arguing the CDC cannot order long-term restrictions because it’s an agency, not a regulatory body.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) introduced legislation to end the shutdown by July 4, but it died last week on Capitol Hill.

The port is expecting to receive millions in federal relief money that was awarded to Florida seaports.

No cruises for another summer would mean more lost jobs.

Paul Kellem of the International Longshoremen’s Association represents the dockworkers, the blue-collar employees losing their hard-earned living to countries that are cruising.

“It’s a great concern because you’re looking at tourism dollars that are leaving our area and our state and our country. So we want those dollars back here in Florida,” Kellem said.

Murray Wednesday continued to say the port, financially, will be able to outlast the shutdown.

“We’ll get there, eventually. I just can’t say when,” he said.

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