Carnival Cruises may begin sailing again as soon as Aug. 1, about one week after the CDC’s “no-sail” order is set to expire on July 24.
The cruise line says it is planning to resume service on eight ships with service from Galveston, TX, Miami, FL and Port Canaveral, FL. A five-day cruise from Texas to Cozumel, Mexico will set customers back a mere $139, or $28 per night in an effort to bring customers back.
“I think the customer base may trend a little bit younger, if seniors feel that cruising is unsafe,” says Dr. Andrew Coggins, cruise industry analyst and professor at Pace University.
Despite the low prices, Dr. Coggins says cruise lines will face a major uphill battle after several high profile coronavirus outbreak on board cruise ships early in the pandemic. Seven outbreaks have been tied to ships owned by the Carnival Corp.
Thousands of passengers and crew members were stuck aboard the Carnival-owned Grand Princess cruise ship in March after California’s first coronavirus death was connected to the ship.
The idea of being isolated aboard a cruise ship with thousands of strangers is a frightening prospect for many.
“They’re going to have to educate the public on their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems,” says Dr. Coggins. It will take a significant publicity campaign to ensure customers that the ships are safe. “How rapidly the air is interchanged throughout the ship, and that it’s not like you’re in a box that’s sealed and you can catch germs quite easily.”
Dr. Coggins says screenings will likely be required for anyone coming aboard the ship.
Carnival says it is using this period of no sailings to add protocols to ensure safety.