Carnival Cruise Line Sails for the First Time in Over a Year With Cruises Out of Miami and Texas
Carnival Cruise Line set sail from Florida and Texas over the weekend, cruising for the first time in more than a year, with fully vaccinated passengers.
On July 4, the company sailed from PortMiami on the Carnival Horizon, heading out on a six-day cruise with stops planned in the Dominican Republic and Carnival's private island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay.
The itinerary was one of Carnival's fully vaccinated cruises, allowing the company to sail without the need to first complete test cruises approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ship sailed with the vaccine requirement despite the fact that Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned the concept of vaccine passports in the state. Other cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have made changes to their vaccine policies for cruises leaving from Florida.
"PortMiami is our number one homeport in terms of ships and passenger embarkations and today's return to cruising with Carnival Horizon represents an important first step in getting our company back to business while infusing much-needed capital to the thousands of workers who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood," Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said in a statement, adding the "past year has been challenging to say the least."
In addition to the Miami sailing, Carnival set out on the Carnival Vista from Galveston, Texas, over the weekend on another fully vaccinated cruise.
On July 15, the company plans to sail the Carnival Breeze from Galveston, followed by Alaska cruises starting July 27 on the Carnival Miracle. On July 31, Carnival will christen its newest ship, the Mardi Gras, with sailings from Port Canaveral. Each of these cruises carries a vaccine requirement.
The CDC has loosened mask wearing and waived testing requirements for fully-vaccinated passengers as well as allowed them to explore ports on their own without having to book an excursion through the cruise line.
Beyond Carnival, the CDC has approved several other cruise lines to begin sailing with passengers, including Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean, Travel Weekly reported. Additionally, the agency has approved several cruise lines to expand plans for simulated test sailings.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.