Though the CDC has issued a No Sail Order for cruise companies amid the coronavirus pandemic, Carnival Cruise Lines is readying some ships to sail on Aug. 1.
The CDC first announced the order in March, and later extended it to July 24 or when “the Secretary of Health and Human Services' declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency,” NPR reports.
Carnival will reopen its cruises with eight ships sailing from Galveston, Texas, and Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The ships will make stops in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Mexico, and more. The company’s other North American and Australian cruises are canceled through Aug. 31.
“We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation,” Carnival said in a news release. “We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests.”
The CDC also released its own statement: “We are closely monitoring the situation on cruise ships while we review the cruise lines' plans to prevent, detect, contain, and respond to COVID-19 during the No Sail period. At this point in time, we do not have enough information to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume sailing. CDC will continue to work with cruise lines to ensure all necessary public health procedures are in place when cruise lines do begin regular sailing.”
A few of Carnival’s ships became outbreak hotbeds, as COVID-19 entered the U.S. in March. The CDC’s No Sail Order bans ship crews from disembarking upon arrival in the U.S. Workers can’t stay in hotels, use public transit, take commercial flights, or go into public until after completing a 14-day isolation. The Coast Guard is currently overseeing 120 cruise ships that have docked in U.S. waters and are holding around 80,000 workers.
While Carnival and its subsidiary lines have been hit with a number of lawsuits by passengers who were exposed to the virus, The House of Representatives has also launched a probe into the company’s handling of the outbreaks on its ships.
Many think Carnival's decision to reopen its cruise lines is a mistake.