(CNN) – Two carnival cruise ships return to Galveston Harbor in Texas on Sunday.
After more than a year, the return of the ships gave a glimmer of hope to the tourism industry, which suffered a huge blow during the pandemic.
The two ships, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista, were expected to arrive at the port around noon local time, and port officials invited the public to come and celebrate their return.
“Based on annual economic impact statistics, losses are estimated at $ 1.2 billion in direct costs, 23,000 jobs and $ 1.6 billion in wages nationwide.”
While cruise ships are still not allowed to travel with U.S. passengers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its Conditional Sailing Scheme (CSO) last month with guidelines on how they expect the industry to resume sailing.
Several measures were outlined, including; increase weekly to daily Covid-19 case reporting, implement routine procedures for testing crew members, and establish a vaccination plan for crew members and port personnel.
The next phase of CSO management will include test trips that will allow crew and port staff to practice new Covid-19 operating procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers, according to the CDC.
Reese added that the port has upgraded its cruise terminal to meet CDC standards and that it has invested about “$ 100,000 in improvements designed to reduce the spread of the virus” at both cruise terminals.
Breeze and Vista will be maintained while waiting at the port for guidance from the CDC. On Sunday night, the ships will also be lit with a special message after sunset, according to Carnival.
CNN’s Jeremy Grisham contributed to this report.