GALVESTON, Texas – Carnival Cruises returned to Galveston after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People and businesses are so happy to have the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista ships back at the Port of Galveston. Before the pandemic, Galveston’s cruise business generated $1.6 billion dollars annually and it is the fourth most popular cruise homeport in North America.
“That’s what Galveston is about right there. So we are normal. It’s back,” Adina Schlekewn said.
On Sunday, people welcomed Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista ships back on the docks at the Port of Galveston.
“We came out to show our support for the cruise industry. We are ready to go,” David Tanner said.
William Neumann, who owns the Shark Shack and the Playground, said business has had its ups and downs since the pandemic started. He said the ships are a vital part of the city.
“People come in and fill up hotels before they go out on our cruises. They spend money in the retail shops and businesses down there,” he said.
Cruises have been canceled because of COVID-19. Now that many people are vaccinated, they are hoping to set sail very soon.
“We are due to go on the 19th of July and this will be our fifth or sixth cruise out of Galveston,” Tanner said.
But traveling on the sea requires the CDC to lift the travel order that has been in place since last year.
“If a ship attests that 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers are fully vaccinated, that ship may skip simulated voyages and move directly to open water sailing,” the CDC said in an NBC news report.
Dr. Phillip Keiser is an infectious disease physician at UTMB, and he is the Local Health Authority for Galveston County. He said vaccines will make cruising safe.
“The real question comes in not just the logistics of getting everyone vaccinated but how do they document it,” Dr. Keiser said.
Dr. Kaiser said the CDC would require testing on site. On Monday, Carnival cruise and several local business leaders will have a press conference urging the CDC to lift the restrictions on cruise traveling.