PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (WESH / AP) – The first cruise ship out of Port Canaveral with paying customers since the pandemic began in the United States in March 2020 was leaving on a seven-day trip.
Carnival Cruise Line‘s Mardi Gras ship had approximately 70% of its normal 5,282 passenger capacity on its maiden voyage through the Caribbean. He left the port of the Florida Space Coast on Saturday night.
There was no “test sail” for this cruise or other Carnival cruises that returned to sea on July 3, as this is considered a “vaccine cruise” according to CDC recommendations.
Everyone must show proof of vaccination or have a COVID test at a cost of $ 150 per person.
The goal is to vaccinate 95% of passengers and 98% of crew members.
Christine Duffy, president of the company, promises that Mardi Gras will set the industry standard for health and safety.
âWe think this will eventually be sorted out in a way that allows us to continue sailing, which we are doing,â she said.
Travel agents tell our affiliate NBC WESH, from what they see, that their customers will trust cruise lines for their health.
âYeah, I think they should feel very safe. I have seen a lot of safety protocols since I got on the ship, âsaid June Black, agent for Dream Vacations Travel.
âLooks like it’s more than it is, but it’s really easy. It’s a quick form to fill out, check off, sign and bring with you, âsaid Marie Chiaino, of Salty Cruises & Travels Merritt Island.
The CEO of Port Canaveral is confident in the measures taken against the coronaviruses, for the good of the industry and local port workers.
âYou have to remember that none of the cruise lines want a ship to go out and have a COVID-19 outbreak on board,â CEO John Murray said.
If anyone contracts COVID-19, Mardi Gras and other ships have cabins and medical teams prepared for quarantine.
Mardi Gras is the first cruise ship to have a roller coaster and it is also powered by liquid natural gas, a first for a cruise ship in the Americas.
Mardi Gras was the fifth Carnival Cruise Line ship to return to service.