Cruise ships are launching in Europe, Asia and now Israel. What about the U.S.?
Shipping companies have been unable to sail to the Mexican Caribbean for 14 months due to United States restrictions due to the pandemic, so shipping companies such as Norwegian Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises, which, although they hope to return in early July, have already started traveling. to Europe and Asia.
The American authorities maintain firm the start of the cruises for October. Despite requests from shipping companies, which have planned to return to the Caribbean in July, especially for Cozumel and Mahahual, their main destinations, but they have also begun to send their ships to sail on rivers in Europe and Asia.
Miguel Torruco, Secretary of Tourism, said that they agreed with the cruise ship companies to start the operation between the end of June and the beginning of July, but everything would depend on the epidemiological status of the area. “By June, July, the cruises will be ready, some started as a test, but in those months the cruises will already be at various points where they will open,” said Torruco, as reported by El Financiero.
Although cruises have been planned between Cozumel Bahamas, Carlos Joaquín González, Governor of Quintana Roo, has reported that the cruise ship companies still do not know if it is possible to do so since their ships are in their Florida homeports. “Some cruise companies have decided to open their departures in Jamaica or Bermuda or in some other place, but what they told us is that they had not been successful, they are not closed, but what they hoped was that Florida could open,” said the governor. .
Norwegian Cruises plans to restart its routes in the Caribbean and Europe on July 25, so it already has tickets for sale. For its part, Royal Caribbean Cruises will send one of its vessels on June 12 to the island of Cozumel.
As reported by REPORTUR.co, the Mexican Caribbean will receive a new cruise ship company in Cozumel, Cruise Saudi, which would begin its arrival starting this year, as stated by its director Fawaz Farooqui, who revealed the company’s interest in reaching the island.
Cruise Saudi is part of the strategy planned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia from 2021 to 2025, as they plan to develop other non-oil sectors. Likewise, Farooqui is expected to visit Cozumel to learn more about the cruise market in this destination.
The European cruise industry is looking to expand the reopening this spring.
Cruises are circulating on Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, including the company AIDA catering to German tourists. Costa Cruises, which with MSC is one of Europe’s largest cruise companies, will resume cruises on May 1, with seven-night Italy-only cruises. Costa plans to begin sailing in the western Mediterranean from mid-June.
Britain is opening to cruise ships in May, with MSC and Viking launching cruises of the British Isles, among several companies offering at-sea “staycation” cruises aimed at capturing one of the most important cruise markets. The cruise industry is hoping Greece will open in mid-May, but the country hasn’t yet announced when it will reopen tourism.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “framework” for resuming cruises in the U.S., but the industry says the health agency hasn’t spelled out the details that companies need to operate their ships. Once the CDC provides technical requirements, industry officials say it takes about 90 days to prepare a ship for sailing.
The cruise companies complain that last fall’s CDC framework is outdated and should be scrapped. They say it was issued before vaccines were available and before the restart of cruises in Europe, which they say have safely carried thousands of passengers under new COVID-19 protocols. And they complain that cruising is the only part of the U.S. economy that remains shuttered by the pandemic.
The Cruise Lines International Association is lobbying for an early July start to U.S. cruising, noting that loyal cruise customers will just go elsewhere.
“Cruisers love to cruise, and they will go where the ships are sailing,” said Laziza Lambert, a spokeswoman for the trade group.
Still, environmentalists pushing back against an earlier restart say the timeout imposed by the pandemic provides a window to address the industry’s effect on the environment.
“Large cruise ships pollute our air, our water and contribute to climate change. They are toxic to port communities. And they spread COVID. They exploit workers and put passengers at risk,” Ace said. ”Why should large cruise ships be allowed to return before they have addressed these concerns?”