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Carnival cruises return to Texas port this Sunday

2021-05-03T19:43:24.338Z

After more than a year of absence, the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista cruises returned to their home port in Galveston, Texas.



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(CNN) -

Two Carnival cruise ships returned to the port of Galveston, Texas, on Sunday.


After more than a year of absence, the return of the ships represents a ray of hope for the travel sector, which suffered a major blow during the pandemic.

The two ships, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista, arrived in port around noon local time, and port officials had invited the public to come celebrate their return.

  • When will we be able to travel on a cruise again?

"We are SO excited to finally have our ships home again," reads a Facebook post from the Port of Galveston.

"We have been granted approval to allow community public access to the pier between Cruise Terminals 1 and 2 for this special event."

Heather Luckey, a travel agent, told CNN that tears came to her as she saw the ships arrive.

"It's a symbolic sign that travel is coming back," he said.

"We are on the eve of a travel boom and I'm here to see it!"

Another bystander in the harbor, Mike Welsch, told CNN there were several hundred people watching the ships make their way through the canal.

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"It has been great to see them come back to Galveston," said Welsch.

"We can't wait to get on board one."

Welsch captured this image of the Carnival Vista.


Courtesy of @mikewelsch

The ships left port in April 2020, according to CNN affiliate KTRK, when the pandemic brought cruise ships to a stop.

Many Texas businesses depend on the cruise industry.

The Port of Galveston is the fourth most popular cruise ship home port in North America.

It is also the only cruise port in Texas, according to the Carnival cruise line.

"The suspension of cruises from Galveston has caused huge losses to the Texas economy and the families that depend on this industry," said Rodger Rees, CEO of the Port of Galveston, in a press release in April.

"Based on annual historical economic impact statistics, losses are estimated at $ 1.2 billion in direct spending, 23,000 jobs, and $ 1.6 billion in wages statewide."

  • Carnival loses $ 4.4 billion amid coronavirus impact on cruise ship sector

Although cruise ships remain unable to navigate with U.S. passengers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month updated its Conditional Navigation Order (CSO) with guidelines. on how he hopes the sector can resume departures.

Among the measures that have been adopted, the change from weekly to daily notification of covid-19 cases, the implementation of routine tests for crew members, stands out.

There is also the establishment of a vaccination plan for crew members and port personnel.

According to the CDC, the next phase of the CSO orientation will include test trips that will allow port crew and staff to practice the new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.

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Last month, Rees joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Cruise Lines International Association in pleading in an open letter that the CDC lift the CSO and allow cruises to begin in July.

"This multi-billion dollar industry is the ONLY industry the federal government has banned from operating, despite the fact that other travel, tourism and hospitality sectors have opened or continued to operate throughout the pandemic," the letter says.

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Rees added that the port has upgraded its cruise terminal to meet CDC standards.

He also added that it has invested about "US $ 100,000 in improvements aimed at reducing the spread of the virus" in the two cruise terminals.

The Breeze and Vista will undergo maintenance while they wait in port for CDC directions.

On Sunday night, the ships will also light up with a special message once the sun goes down, according to Carnival.

"Their intentions are to stay here, crew and do some work on the ships," Rees told KTRK.

"So they'll be here when it's time to start sailing, and we hope it's quick."

- CNN's Jeremy Grisham contributed to this report.

CruiseTexas

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-05-03

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