Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Business https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Carnival cruise ships return to the port of Galveston, Texas for the first time in more than a year

Carnival cruise ships return to the port of Galveston, Texas for the first time in more than a year

(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.

“We are so excited that we will finally get our ships back home,”
; said a post on Facebook from the port of Galveston. “We have received approval to allow the public public access to the dock between cruise terminals 1 and 2 for this special event.”
The ships left port in April 2020, according to CNN affiliate KTRK, as the pandemic halted cruises. Many Texas businesses rely on the cruise industry. Galveston Harbor is the fourth most popular cruise port in North America and the only cruise port in Texas, according to the Carnival Cruise Line.
“The halting of the Galveston cruise has resulted in huge losses for the Texas economy and families relying on the industry,” Roger Rees, Galveston Harbor’s chief executive, said in a news release in April.

“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.

“This multibillion-dollar industry is the ONLY industry banned by the federal government from operating, even when other sectors of travel, tourism and hospitality are open or continue to operate throughout the pandemic,” the letter said.

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.

“Their intention is to stay here, get on the crew and do some work on the ships,” Reese told KTRK. “So they’ll be here when it’s time to start traveling, and we hope it happens soon.”

CNN’s Jeremy Grisham contributed to this report.

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