In what’s sure to be a major boon for Texas summer travel, Carnival Cruise Line plans to resume sailings from Galveston next month — but only for vaccinated passengers.
The major U.S. cruise line announced June 7 that it will resume operations from Port of Galveston on July 3 with Carnival Vista. Cruises by Carnival Breeze will resume on July 15, according to a press release.
Guests eligible to board must have received their final dose of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of travel and have proof of vaccination. That regulation is in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies,” says Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in the release. "However, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us. As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.”
Duffy also cited the work by Texas state officials in making vaccinations available to cruise line personnel, which has essentially expedited the restart process. She also noted that assistance from Galveston Mayor Craig Brown and Port of Galveston leaders has been instrumental in the restart efforts.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 7 signed a bill that would prohibit businesses that operate in Texas from requiring proof of vaccination, so-called "vaccination passports." Carnival has not publicly responded.
The line also plans to restart its Carnival Horizon ship from PortMiami in July.
Plans for August sailings will be announced in the coming days, the cruise line says.
Carnival canceled trips from all U.S. homeports, including Galveston — except from Miami and Port Canaveral, Florida — for November and December last year. That was after a voluntary 30-day pause in operations in March 2020, plus multiple halts due to the pandemic.