Carnival Cruise Line confirmed Tuesday that its planning to have ships sailing out of PortMiami and Texas next month, with all guests required to be vaccinated on the Texas-based ships.
Guest operations will resume from Port of Galveston on July 3rd on the Carnival Vista, followed by the return of operations on the Carnival Breeze on July 15th, the company announced.
Guests on the Galveston ships will be required to have received their final dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company said.
"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," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law prevent Texas businesses from requiring customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with businesses that require proof of vaccination possibly being denied state contracts or losing their licenses or operating permits.
It was not immediately clear how the law could affect Carnival's Galveston plans.
The other ship and port identified for a July restart is the Carnival Horizon from PortMiami, but the company said they're working with the state of Florida and CDC to determine safety protocols for the ship.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. Cruise companies are working to comply with the bill while also following CDC guidance.
The current CDC process requires each ship that will be permitting non-vaccinated guests to complete a simulation cruise before receiving approval to resume sailing once again from U.S. ports.
The federal government shut down all cruises in March of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the state of Florida filed a lawsuit against the CDC over its no-sail order.
Florida is the nation’s cruise capital with three of the world’s busiest ports: Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. The cruise industry generates billions for the economy and employs tens of thousands of Floridians.
Carnival will be advising guests and travel advisors about its plans for August sailings over the coming days.