PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – After nearly a year and a half without cruises, Port Canaveral is finally starting to look like one of America’s busiest cruise ports again.
At a commission meeting Wednesday, the port’s CEO said there will be 66 total revenue sailings by the end of next month. The first of those was Carnival’s new Mardi Gras back on July 31, ending the shutdown.
“The good news is I’ve lost count of how many revenue cruises we’ve had so far,” Captain John Murray said.
Eleven major cruise ships are expected to call Port Canaveral home by the end of the year. The port said that will be the most amount of homeported ships it’s ever had.
“It’s only going to just go up like that, as far as the paying passengers,” Admiral Wayne Justice said.
As the chair of the port commission, Justice listened to a budget presentation forecasting $85 million from cruise revenue in the next year. And with the virus still threatening the industry, the port echoed what the cruise lines have said — they argued being on a cruise ship is safe.
“Protocols on the cruise ships are as strong as there are anywhere in any business,” Justice said. “The likelihood of it being some massive outbreak is minimal.”
Some infections have been reported. Last week, Carnival Cruise Line said 26 crew members and a passenger tested positive on a ship from Galveston, Texas.
Carnival cruises have 95% vaccinated passengers and 100 percent of crew.
In addition to returning passengers, Port Canaveral said it’s slowly bringing back the rest of its workforce. The port cut 115 jobs, or 40% of its employees, in response to the shutdown last year.