Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy has reiterated the industry’s hopes of working towards a July restart for US cruise operations, and said she welcomed the return of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the negotiating table.
Speaking to NBC Nightly News, Duffy said she was confident the CDC and other stakeholders were now aligned with the cruise sector and President Biden in efforts to "reopen America" by 4 July. "We want to make sure the cruise industry can be part of that reopening," said Duffy.
On the industry’s discussions with the CDC, Duffy said she understood the centre’s distance when its focus turned to "getting vaccine in arms" earlier this year. “They’ve come back to the table with us, and with other inner-agency groups to really get clear on what guidelines and protocols are going to be required for us to sail again from US ports,” she said.
“It’s been a long 15 months, and I think we’re the only industry that is shut down in the US. So while we’re hopeful we’re on a path to restart, we’re not there yet."
Duffy reiterated the industry’s frustration that it appears to almost unique in being required to ensure passengers and crew are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
"There’s no mandate for any other business to have that requirement," she said. "We are certainly encouraging everyone to get a vaccine, and the crew members we’ve been giving vaccines to are very grateful to have that opportunity.
"I think, again, we don’t want to be treated differently than any other part of travel tourism, entertainment or society. And so I think that’s where we have the challenge of working through the details because, for our cruise line, children under 12 are a big part of the cruise experience in a summer.
"As it stands right now, we wouldn’t be able to have kids under 12 onboard.”