Carnival gets CDC approval for Florida, Texas cruises this summer

The Carnival Panorama cruise ship docked in Long Beach on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

Carnival Corporation's flagship cruise line was given the green light by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to begin sailing from three U.S. ports. 

Carnival Cruise Line – the latest fleet to receive CDC approval to begin hitting U.S. waters again this summer– will focus on the Port of Galveston in Texas as well as Port Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida for "its return to guest operations this summer," Carnival announced Friday. 

All three "are all key homeports for Carnival Cruise Line," according to the company.

Its Carnival Horizon ship, leaving from Miami, and the Carnival Vista and Breeze ships, leaving from Galveston, will be the first to carry passengers this July. However, Carnival fell short of announcing exactly when the ships would set sail.

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In the coming days, Carnival is also expected to announce plans to restart operations at Port Canaveral, which has been deemed another "restart priority." 

"These agreements move us one step closer to sailing with our loyal guests," Lars Ljoen, executive vice president and chief maritime officer for Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement. 

In order to restart operations, a cruise line must have agreements with its homeports to support the cruise operator with public health and operational resources prior to the return of simulated or full guest operations, the cruise line said, citing CDC guidelines.  

"We appreciate the support from not just these three homeport partners, but all of our homeports, that are eager to have us back as soon as possible," Ljoen added.

The news comes after more than a year of suspended operations in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Carnival is the second cruise line operator to receive a green light by the CDC. Earlier this month, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Edge cruise ship, owned by the Royal Caribbean Group, announced plans to depart Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – becoming the first ship to set sail from a U.S. port since the early days of the pandemic.    

Per Royal Caribbean guidelines, though, the ship's entire crew will be vaccinated, and anyone over the age of 16 must present proof of vaccination against COVID-19. By August, anyone over the age of 11 must present proof that they have been fully vaccinated.  

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The policy conflicts with Florida law barring businesses in the state from requiring people to show proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

In the executive order, signed in April, Gov. Ron DeSantis argued that "vaccination passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy" and that they would "create two classes of citizens based on vaccination." 

Royal Caribbean told FOX Business it's still finalizing health and safety measures for cruises departing from U.S. ports, including Florida, in collaboration with the CDC as well as local and state authorities in the destinations its ships visit.

Representatives for Carnival have not immediately responded to FOX Business' request for comment regarding their plans for its Florida ports in Miami and Canaveral.

Under CDC guidelines, at least 95% of crew and 95% of passengers need to be fully vaccinated, but the agency acknowledges "that it is not possible for cruising to be a zero-risk activity for the spread of COVID-19."