- Carnival Cruise Line’s first cruise ship left the US since the pandemic halted its operations.
- The Carnival Vista set sail from Port Galveston, Texas, on Saturday.
- Passengers were required to confirm they were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to boarding.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Carnival Corp, the world’s biggest cruise company, on Saturday launched its first ship from a US port since the pandemic shut down its operations.
Vista set sail from Port Galveston, Texas. The week-long cruise is set to visit spots including Roatán, Mahogany Bay, and Cozumel.
Passengers were required to confirm their status as fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination in advance of boarding, which follows strict guest protocols.
But cruise operators are well aware that being fully vaccinated doesn’t completely remove the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. “If the virus is in the community on land … then of course you can get it on board despite all the things we do,” Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald recently told Fox Business.
The cruise industry is one of the last sectors to try and regain its pre-pandemic activity following the huge disruption caused by the pandemic. According to Donald, its efforts are largely being welcomed by customers eager to get back on the water.
-Carnival Cruise Line (@CarnivalCruise) July 3, 2021
In a second-quarter business update, the company said booking volumes for future cruises were 45% higher compared with the first quarter. It added that 2022 bookings were already higher than in 2019, as previously reported by Insider’s Grace Dean.
People are itching to spend a lot of money on board, too. The CEO of Celebrity Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, said travellers are eager to shell out extra cash on casinos, massages, and luxury meals. “They just want to enjoy themselves,” she told Time.
Celebrating Vista’s departure, Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a video posted to Twitter: “Our crew is so very excited and so ready and prepared for this first cruise.”
She added: “The silver lining that’s kept us going is the support and loyalty of our guests.”