MIAMI — Carnival Cruise Line says it has gotten the okay from federal officials to move on to the next step of resuming operations at a trio of ports across the country, including South Florida.
The company says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is green-lighting its restart plans to sail from Port Miami, Port Galveston and Port Canaveral. Carnival says it plans to begin setting sail from these ports by July.
"These agreements move us one step closer to sailing with our loyal guests," said Lars Ljoen, executive vice president and chief maritime officer for Carnival Cruise Line. "We appreciate the support from not just these three homeport partners, but all of our homeports, that are eager to have us back as soon as possible."
Currently, the CDC requires ports to have certain public health protocols in place in order to conduct test cruises with cruise lines. The simulated voyages are part of the framework the CDC created for cruises to resume sailing across the country. The Galveston County Daily News reports Carnival intends to do simulated cruises in Texas before returning with paid traditional sailings this summer.
The CDC requires a test cruise with volunteer passengers if 98 percent of a ship's crew is not fully-vaccinated. A ship can only carry 10 percent of the total passenger capacity allowed by the ports it's visiting. Those passengers must be 18 years or older and agree to COVID-19 testing prior to participating.
The test cruise would be canceled if 1.5 percent of COVID cases are detected among passengers, or if 1 percent of the crew has contracted the virus.
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