The United States health authorities authorized this Wednesday a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to set sail on June 26 from Florida, the first from ports in the country after a break of more than a year due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave free rein to Celebrity Edge, which will depart from Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami, with vaccinated crew and passengers.
«We are making history today! After receiving the green light from the CDC, Celebrity Edge will set sail from Fort Lauderdale on June 26, “the shipping company said on Twitter.
The authorization, however, faces a new Florida law that prohibits companies from requesting proof of covid-19 vaccination.
According to the CDC, ships that sail with 95% of the passengers and 98% of the crew vaccinated do not have to conduct test sailings.
Royal Caribbean also had already obtained this week permission from the CDC to set sail as of June 20 on a simulated cruise with volunteer passengers, which does not generate income for the company.
For these trips, the CDC states that there must be enough volunteer passengers to meet at least 10% of the ship’s capacity, and the crew must follow COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements.
On the other hand, the Norwegian shipping company reported this Wednesday that it will resume cruises to the Caribbean from Florida from October with at least four ships that will depart from the ports of Miami and Cañaveral.
The Miami-based company announced the revival in the “Sunshine State” after noting that it was considering relocating its operations to the Caribbean due to Florida law that contradicts the federal authority’s directives on vaccination.
Norwegian said in a statement that as of October 19 it will resume the voyages of its Joy cruise ship, by November 14 Encore will do so, and as of December 23 it will have Pearl traveling again.
The three ships will depart from the Port of Miami with itineraries especially to the Caribbean.
In addition, Escape will sail again starting November 20 from Port Canaveral, in central Florida.
The cruise industry, paralyzed since March 2020 in US ports due to the covid-19 pandemic, awaits the reactivation from next July, which is mainly conditioned to test trips and vaccination.
Meanwhile, Carnival is in discussions with the CDC about simulated or test rides as an alternative to vaccination.
“Among the CDC requirements that we are working to implement is the simulated cruise operation to test our protocols,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
He added that this offers “greater flexibility to allow unvaccinated children to navigate.”