Cruising from the US could resume by mid-summer with sailing restrictions, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson reacting to mounting industry pressure.
Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said her line "may have no choice" but to move its ships out of US homeports in order to resume operations should the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order remain in place in its current guise.
Carnival extended its suspension of operations out of US ports through to 30 June on Tuesday (6 April).
Her comments came as cruise leaders and Florida politicians continued to ramp up pressure on the CDC to relax its order and allow the sector to restart and as a number of lines recently focused their efforts away from the US by announcing resumptions in the Caribbean and Europe.
"We know that this is very disappointing to our guests who continue to be eager to sail, and we remain committed to working with the administration and the CDC to find a workable solution that best serves the interest of public health,” said Duffy in a statement.
"We are asking that the cruise industry be treated on par with the approach being taken with other travel and tourism sectors, as well as US society at large.
"While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our US homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ’pause’ for over a year. We appreciate the continued patience and support from our loyal guests, travel advisors and business partners as we work on a return-to-service solution."
As reported by Bloomberg, in response to questions about Carnival, a CDC spokesperson said: “CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sailing order.
"This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travellers; hopefully, by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings."