PORT CANAVERAL – Carnival Corp. on Friday received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acceptance of a special agreement with Port Canaveral — an agreement that is a key step in the cruise company’s resumption of sailings.
Carnival said Port Canaveral has been “identified as a restart priority, and Carnival expects to announce plans for operations from there over the coming days,” according to News 6 partners Florida Today.
“This is the exciting news that we have been waiting for,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said. “A tremendous amount of cooperative went into these agreements, as we worked closely with our partner, Carnival Cruise Line. This is a monumental step to getting the cruise industry up and running once again.”
The CDC also approved what’s known as “Phase 2A port agreements” between Carnival and two other ports — Port Miami and Port of Galveston in Texas.
“These agreements move us one step closer to sailing with our loyal guests,” Lars Ljoen, executive vice president and chief maritime officer for Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement issued Friday. “We appreciate the support from not just these three home-port partners, but all of our home ports, that are eager to have us back as soon as possible.”
Carnival said these three ports are “all key home ports for Carnival Cruise Line and the first three home ports that Carnival is focusing on for its return to guest operations this summer.”
Carnival already has announced that Carnival Horizon (sailing from Miami) and Carnival Vista and Breeze (sailing from Galveston) will be the first ships to carry paying passengers, as the line plans its July return to service.
Under the CDC guidelines, a cruise line must have agreements with its home ports that they are prepared to support the cruise operator with additional public health and operational resources prior to the implementation of “simulated cruises” with non-paying passengers or regular cruises.
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, the Mardi Gras, is scheduled to arrive at Port Canaveral on June 4, in preparation for its first sailing with passengers.
But the cruise line has not announced when sailings out of Port Canaveral would begin.