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Is CDC Affected by Cruise Lines Leaving US Homeports?



US homeports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could agree to resume cruising by summer. The cruise industry has been on pause since the health agency released its no-sail order in March 2020. And on October 2020, the CDC replaced it with a conditional sailing order. Recently, the CDC updated its conditional sailing order.

According to the agency, it is working to “resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order”. CDC also added that “The goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States”. As for the exact date, it only says that it is “hopefully by midsummer with restricted revenue sailings”.

Groups called for the CDC to allow cruising to resume. Unfortunately, major cruise lines are now looking to leave the US if CDC doesn’t let them restart their operations. Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn, and Viking announced to transfer their homeports in Bermuda, Iceland, Greece, and the Caribbean.

Then, you also have other cruise lines such as Crystal Cruises, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean that started using new homeports in Bahamas, Bermuda, and St. Maarten. These used to be turnaround ports.

Europe and Other Non-US Homeports

Europe is considered a more friendly place for the cruise industry.  Celebrity is debuting the Celebrity Apex in Greece by July. On the other hand, Royal Caribbean is using Cyprus as its homeport for the first time. Outside Europe, you have Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Sea that starts in May.

On the bright side, small ship lines such as American Cruise Line and the American Queen Steamboat Company already started their operations.  Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to keep cover the loss of tourism jobs in places like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Galveston, and New Orleans.

Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis threatened to sue the CDC if cruising won’t reopen soon. DeSantis said that “we need to be able to get these cruise lines operating again”. He added that “in Florida, we have everything going on except the cruise lines because the federal government won’t let the cruise lines sail”.

Norwegian Cruise Line, meanwhile, sent a petition to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to restart the cruise line industry on July 4.

In 2019, travel agencies processed $12.3 billion in cruise sales. Also, the industry supports more than 86,000 jobs.