Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise line which once employed Shaquille O’Neal as its Chief Fun Officer, is poised to be the first big kid back on the cruise ship block. Carnival announced today that it would resume limited cruising on August 1.
Eight Carnival ships will begin as-yet-unannounced itineraries from three ports later this summer, which Carnival is calling the first phase of its return to operations. Port Canaveral near Orlando will launch trips on the Breeze and Elation ships. Galveston, Texas, will be homeport to the Dream, Freedom, and Vista. And Miami — the busiest passenger cruise port in the world — will have Horizon, Magic, and Sensation leaving August 1.
“We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation,” Carnival stated in a Monday morning press 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.”
As such, all other Carnival operations will remain paused through August 31. It also canceled all Carnival Spirit Alaskan cruises out of Seattle, as well as Spirit’s Vancouver-Honolulu cruise on September 25 and Honolulu-Brisbane on October 6. All cruises in Australia — a country that’s on the brink of eliminating COVID-19 — are also canceled through August 31. Affected passengers can go online to obtain refunds or a credit for a future cruise.
Though Carnival is the first major cruise line to return to operations, it is not the first cruise line to pick back up. Earlier this year, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced it would resume short-trip service from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama and Nassau beginning on June 13.
So while it may be some time until the mega-ships roam free through the oceans again, it seems the world’s biggest cruise line will be back in action in a few short months. It may not be the full-scale return to the glory days of cruising we saw in recent years, but it’s a promising first step. And for those of us happy to jump back onboard, it gives us all a little to look forward to.