Carnival Cruise Line Caribbean voyages with homeports in the Bahamas are not currently under consideration according to Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line.
While many of the world’s major cruise lines have recently announced Caribbean cruise seasons for the summer and winter months, Carnival says its brand identity is indelibly linked to its US homeports.
“I have always said that Carnival Cruise Line is America’s cruise line,” said Duffy. “We sail from 14 UShomeports, 50 percent of our itineraries are less than seven-day sailings, and a significant number of our guests drive to their Carnival cruise vacation.”
“We also sail more families with children than any other cruise line. And as you know, so far the vaccines are not approved for anyone under the age of 16,” she added.
The move by many cruise lines to homeport in the Caribbean and sell fly-cruise holidays to the North American cruise market came after several Caribbean nations eased tourism restrictions, allowing foreign visitors who are vaccinated, or have negative COVID tests.
The rules regarding children are unclear, however, with different countries indicating different age limits at which minors do or do not require vaccines and COVID testing.
Carnival Cruise Line Caribbean planning is instead being replaced with efforts to get US transport, tourism and health authorities to agree on a common approach to restarting cruises domestically.
Duffy said that as more Americans get vaccinated, her focus will be on securing a decision from the CDC to allow for a resumption of cruising from US homeports, she said this would make cruising consistent with other forms of travel returning for the summer.
“If its safe to fly on an airplane, stay in a hotel or resort, or visit an amusement park, so it should be safe to cruise on a ship with the additional health and safety protocols we have in place,” she said.
“We have not made a decision here at Carnival about our June sailings,” Duffy added, but reiterated that anyone booked on a June sailing can cancel without a penalty, and final payment deadlines for all Carnival Cruise Line June sailings have been pushed to April 30th.
It is looking increasingly unlikely that the CDC and other US authorities will allow domestic cruises any time soon. In a recent senate hearing, the new director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, said that they were in Phase 1 of a four-stage plan to restart cruises.
Phase 1, an increasingly controversial Conditional Sailing Order, was announced four months ago, and she was unable to say when they would advance to Phase 2.