Cruise giant Carnival to bring back two-thirds of its fleet by October

Jul 19, 2021

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Carnival Cruise Line soon will have 15 of its 24 ships back in operation.

The world’s second-largest cruise brand on Monday announced plans to restart departures with three more vessels in September out of New Orleans, Baltimore and Galveston, Texas, respectively.

The line also said it would add an additional four more ships on top of that back into operation in October out of Miami (two vessels); Port Canaveral, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama.

The seven ships coming back into service in September and October are in addition to eight Carnival vessels that already either have restarted departures or will do so in the next few weeks.

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With the addition of the seven vessels, Carnival will have the majority of its fleet in operation for the first time since early 2020.

Like all major cruise lines around the world, Carnival shut down departures worldwide in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it didn’t operate a single voyage with paying passengers until earlier this month.

Carnival’s 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista and 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze restarted sailings out of Galveston, Texas, on July 3 and July 15, respectively. The 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon resumed voyages out of Miami on July 4. For now, they are the only Carnival vessels sailing.

As previously announced, five more Carnival ships are scheduled to begin operations in the coming weeks include the Carnival Miracle sailing out of Seattle for Alaska (starting July 27) and Mardi Gras sailing to the Caribbean out of Port Canaveral (starting on July 31).

Carnival Mardi Gras
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 5,280-passenger Mardi Gras, will begin sailing with paying passengers on July 31. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Rounding out the five Carnival vessels that are about to restart are Carnival Magic, Carnival Sunrise and Carnival Panorama. They’ll resume departures on Aug. 7, 14 and 21, respectively, out of Port Canaveral, Miami and Long Beach, California.

The newly announced restarts include:

  • Carnival Glory out of New Orleans, starting Sept. 5.
  • Carnival Pride out of Baltimore, starting Sept. 12.
  • Carnival Dream out of Galveston, starting Sept. 19.
  • Carnival Conquest out of Miami, starting Oct. 8
  • Carnival Freedom out of Miami, starting Oct. 9.
  • Carnival Elation out of Port Canaveral, starting Oct. 11.
  • Carnival Sensation out of Mobile, starting Oct. 21.

All of the sailings on the ships restarting operations will be open primarily to passengers vaccinated for COVID-19. Some unvaccinated passengers, including children not eligible for vaccination, will be allowed on the sailings but the maximum number will be limited.

“The decision to sail with vaccinated voyages was a difficult one to make, and we recognize this is disappointing to some of our guests especially the many families with children under the age of 12 who we love to sail, and who love to sail with us,” Carnival president Christine Duffy said in a statement accompanying the announcement.  “It’s important to remember that this is a temporary measure given the current circumstances.”

Carnival said any unvaccinated passengers sailing on the newly announced voyages, including children under the age of 12, would be subject to pre-cruise and pre-embarkation COVID-19 testing and onboard COVID-19 testing prior to debarkation (on cruises longer than four days).

The line said it would charge unvaccinated passengers $150 per person charge to cover the costs of the testing and other health and safety screenings.

Carnival also said it would be limiting the operation of its supervised youth programs on ships for the time being to to vaccinated children and youth 12 years and older.

In addition, effective July 31, unvaccinated passengers departing from Florida will need to show proof of travel insurance coverage, based on the itineraries being sailed and the requirements of ports and destinations visited. A similar rule will go into effect for sailings out of Texas ports of Aug. 2, Carnival said.

Carnival said these additional measures would be in place at least through October and maybe longer, depending on guidance from health and port authorities.

Duffy said Carnival’s plan was to bring back all of its vessels by the end of the year.

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Featured image of courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line.

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