December 1, 2022

Covid updates from CDC to help cruises

Alaska looks forward to a good cruise season for 2022.

(Politico.com Jan. 15, 2022) By Alex Daugherty – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is poised to loosen the industry’s Covid restrictions, saying cruise lines are now positioned to police themselves.

Just two weeks ago, the agency was recommending against cruising even for vaccinated passengers, and the agency’s official guidance states “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.” The CDC is grappling with a host of Covid restrictions as it copes with Omicron’s onslaught while trying to balance public health and a still-fragile economy.

“We have to weigh what our opportunities are and how we protect our community members,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, who has the authority to determine what ships are allowed to dock in the U.S. territory. “We negotiate with the cruise lines on an ongoing basis.”

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky defended the agency’s decisions in a Senate HELP Committee hearing this week, saying federal officials and the cruise industry reached an agreement that will keep cruises on the water. She said after the CDC prohibited cruise lines from docking in the United States, the industry “has stepped up and is now interested in doing and exceeding … compliance with the sail order — without the order even necessarily being in place — is a testament to how that order has worked and our collaboration with the industry.”

The state of cruising

In March 2020, the cruise industry was at a low point, regularly in the news with nightmare stories about how Covid ripped through passengers. Even though most ships aren’t registered in the U.S., its citizens make up by far the world’s largest market for cruising, and the CDC’s “no-sail” order, which prohibited ships from March 2020 to June 2021 — crippled the industry.

The CDC’s prohibition essentially forced the industry to make nice. And in June, cruise companies agreed to CDC conditions that would let them sail again, including proving that the vast majority of not only crew but passengers on board were vaccinated.

Omicron’s appearance  presents fresh challenges. Of the 109 cruise ships the CDC is tracking, only 12 are reporting zero Covid cases on board. Participation in these reporting requirements once the order is lifted will be voluntary but all major cruise lines have pledged to continue.

Unlike spring of 2020, calls to shut down cruises again are muted. Some lines had already canceled cruises for the 2022 season. The major players in the industry mandate vaccines for everyone on board, including passengers — a standard that few industries can boast.

“With broader access to vaccines, we are, thankfully, in a different place than we were back in 2020,” said House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, (D-Ore.). “However, CDC … must continue to closely monitor the risk to cruise passengers and continue to provide science-based guidance.”

The Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s lobbying arm, said their clients are the only segment of the travel and tourism industry that requires vaccination for almost all passengers and crew, and tests everyone on board.

“Further, cruise is the only sector that continuously monitors, collects, and reports case information directly to the CDC,” said Bari Golin-Blaugrund, CLIA’s vice president of strategic communications and public affairs. “Given this oversight and the uniquely high vaccination rate required on board, the incidence of serious illness is dramatically lower than on land, and hospitalizations have been extraordinarily rare even during a time when landside hospitalizations are peaking.”

Federal policy and court fights

The cruise industry won another battle in August, when a federal judge blocked a Florida law that prevented cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they’re vaccinated, effectively allowing the industry to impose their own vaccine mandates. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said during a committee hearing this week that revoking the conditional sail order was critical for communities in her state that rely on summer cruise revenue to survive.

Cruise cancellations

Cruise Critic reports that the omicron COVID-19 surge has caused several cruise lines, including Fred Olsen, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean International, and Windstar — to cancel upcoming cruises on several vessels.

For some ships, the cancellations are short term, with just a few cruises affected. But for others, the pause in operations extends several months or wipes out an entire season.

On January 11, Norwegian Cruise Line informed passengers that near-term sailings on additional ships would be canceled, primarily for departures over the next two weeks (details below). The move follows the line’s previous cruise suspensions that were announced during the first week of January. Additional cancellations were announced on January 19.

Cases of omicron have occurred onboard among passengers and crew but at lower levels of spread than is happening on land, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. While omicron doesn’t seem to have the same levels of severity and hospitalization rates as other COVID-19 variants, it is fast spreading across the U.S. and other countries due to its transmissibility. It’s peak is predicted to be at the end of January for the U.S. and the U.K.

Princess adds perks for all cruises

Princess Cruises is making a cruise this year irresistible.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Enthusiastic cruisers seeking the best sale of the year can take advantage of Princess Cruises Best .Sale. Ever to book their 2022/2023 vacation experiences. The sale runs from Dec. 15, 2021 through March 2, 2022 and includes five Princess perks – drinks, Wi-Fi, crew appreciation, stateroom location upgrade and specialty dining – for the ultimate cruise vacation to destinations all over the world. Available on all cruise and cruisetour bookings, the Best. Sale. Ever offers guests a huge value and savings to celebrate incredible travel experiences to sought-after destinations like the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, the Mexican Riviera and more. Details can be found at www.princess.com.

 

The five Princess perks offered in the Best. Sale. Ever., a value of at least $695 on a 7-day cruise include:

• Drinks: The Premier Beverage Package is applied to guests who are 21 years or older and includes hand-crafted cocktails, wine, beer, fountain soda, specialty coffees and more. Guests who are under 21 will receive the Premier Coffee & Soda Package, which includes a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.

• Unlimited Wi-Fi: MedallionNet Wi-Fi, the best internet at sea, offers land-like connectivity for guests to make video calls from anywhere on the ship, share their vacation experiences in real time with friends and family on social media platforms, and stream sports, movies, music and videos. Unlimited MedallionNet Wi-Fi will automatically apply when guests sign on to activate their device and applies to all guests in stateroom (up to four devices).

• Crew Appreciation: To ensure the crew are taken care of, too, Princess will cover crew appreciation on guests’ behalf.

• Stateroom Location Upgrade: Guests can rest easy knowing they can choose their preferred location within their stateroom category. Offered on a first-come, firstserve basis, upgrades are subject to capacity and availability and apply in like-to-like stateroom types (interior to interior, oceanview to oceanview, balcony to balcony and mini-suite to mini-suite). Not offered in the suite category. Cruises 66 days or longer are not eligible for this offer.

• Specialty Dining: Dine at one of Princess’ award-winning restaurants, where every meal feels like a celebration. Valid for all guests in the stateroom, vouchers will be delivered upon embarkation and are not redeemable for cash. Guests must dine at the same time in the same reserved seating.

 

The Best. Sale. Ever. cruise sale starts at 12am PT on December 15, 2021 and runs through 11:59pm PT on March 2, 2022.It is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia. More details and exclusions can be found at www.princess.com.

Holland America Line’s Rotterdam Departs on Maiden Voyage to Florida

The new Holland America flagship Rotterdam begins her inaugural cruises fall 2021.

Holland America Line’s Rotterdam departed today on its highly anticipated 14-day maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The cruise line celebrated the occasion with fanfare, cheering crew and a ribbon cutting to welcome guests on board the transatlantic cruise.

The 2,668-guest Rotterdam was delivered in July 2021 and is the third in the Pinnacle Class series for Holland America Line. Last week the ship arrived at its namesake city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where it was announced that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be the ships godmother when it is officially named in the spring.

“Rotterdam’s maiden voyage has been highly anticipated for months by our guests and team members eager to welcome them aboard,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Rotterdam is a beautiful ship and the fourth in our fleet to begin cruising this year. We are excited to bring her to Florida and the Caribbean soon on her first sailing.”

Following the transatlantic crossing, Rotterdam will spend from November through April on its inaugural Caribbean Season, with all sailings roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The cruises range from six to 11 days and span the entire region on southern, eastern, western and tropical itineraries. Guests looking for a longer getaway can embark on a Collectors’ Voyage — combined back-to-back itineraries that offer an in-depth exploration covering more than one area.

Every Caribbean cruise includes a call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island. This quaint sanctuary has evolved into a playground for cruise guests and features the finest beaches; two-story villas and private cabanas; delicious dining venues like Lobster Shack; and a variety of fun-filled tours for nature lovers, adventurous travelers and explorers.

About Rotterdam
Rotterdam has the highly successful amenities and innovations introduced with her sister ships, including the 270-degree surround screen World Stage, Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant and Grand Dutch Café. The ship introduces the Half Moon Bar, an immersive experience looking at the history of Holland America Line and cruising through the lens of a cocktail.

Delivering the best of everything, Rotterdam celebrates live music with a collection of world-class performances each night — from Lincoln Center Stage and B.B. King’s Blues Club to Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Onboard.

Throughout the ship, Rotterdam showcases Holland America Line hallmarks that drive one of the highest repeat rates in the industry: exquisite cuisine guided by eight of the world’s leading chefs; gracious, award-winning service; a museum-quality art collection valued at more than $4 million; and superbly appointed staterooms and suites, including family and single accommodations.

Rotterdam is the seventh ship to bear the name for Holland America Line.

Princess Cruises Announces 2024 World Cruise

Island Princess is scheduled for a world cruise in 2024.

Dreaming of exploring the far corners of the globe and only unpacking once? Look no further than the 2024 World Cruise, carefully crafted by the destination experts at Princess Cruises, for the ultimate journey of a lifetime.

On sale Nov. 11, Island Princess – the cruise line’s largest ship to sail a World Cruise voyage – is scheduled to sail roundtrip from North America on a 111-day cruise from both Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles in January 2024. Guests will experience 51 destinations across 27 countries and six continents, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and North America.

“Embarking on a Princess World Cruise to experience the globe’s marquis ports and hidden gems, where all the planning is done by the Princess destination experts, easily turns adventurous world travel dreams into a reality,” said Deanna Austin, Princess Cruises chief commercial officer. “And with MedallionClass, cruising is effortless, personalized and easy to stay connected from afar to loved ones back home or even to the office.”

The 111-day roundtrip voyage from Ft. Lauderdale departs on January 4, 2024, and from Los Angeles on January 18, 2024. A 97-day World Cruise from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale is also offered, setting sail on January 18, 2024.

Noteworthy 2024 World Cruise details include:
Island Princess will sail more than 33,000 nautical miles in 111 days.
12 Maiden World Cruise port calls to Galilee/Nazareth (Haifa), Bali (Benoa), Crete (Heraklion), Mykonos, Naples (for Capri & Pompeii), Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Genoa (Milan), Villefranche, Lisbon, Agadir, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Bermuda.
Visits to 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, The Acropolis in Athens, The Port Fortress of Cartagena and the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in Turkey.
The World Cruise will cross the Equator twice.
The cruise will offer an overnight visit in the modern city Dubai and 11 “More Ashore” late-night calls including Abu Dhabi, Auckland and Sydney so guests can make the most of their time exploring new cultures in port.
Countries visited include New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Israel, Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Canary Islands, Costa Rica and more.

Seabourn Venture Norwegian Winter Inaugural Season

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in December 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in 2022.

Seabourn, the ultra-luxury resort at sea, has opened for sale the revised inaugural expedition season itineraries for Seabourn Venture, the line’s first ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship. Between December 2021 and April 2022, Seabourn Venture will sail on a series of 10- to 14-day Norwegian Winter voyages, cruising the beautiful coastlines in Norway with ample opportunities for travelers to discover the country’s splendid winter landscape and its snow-draped scenery, to learn about each region’s fascinating Viking history and culture, and to search for the majestic Northern Lights. The itineraries, fares and additional details of Seabourn Venture’s Norwegian Winter inaugural season are available at www.seabourn.com.

“Our Norwegian Winter itineraries were carefully designed to offer guests the potential to view one of Earth’s true wonders, the Northern Lights,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. “There’s no better way to explore Norway’s winter beauty than on our new ultra-luxury expedition ship and all the activities it offers.”

The Norwegian Winter voyages will offer a new selection of both inclusive and optional expedition outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, dog and reindeer sledding, and more. Dedicated excursions in search of Northern Lights will be available, including overnight camps at optimal viewing locations. In addition, there will be a new Seabourn signature event on all voyages for all guests on a complimentary basis: Concert in the Northern Lights Cathedral & Seabourn Signature Evening Event at the northern town of Alta, Norway. Seabourn Venture will also carry two six-seat custom submarines, expedition kayaks and 24 Zodiacs, providing additional opportunities for guests to explore Norway’s stunning winter landscape and diverse wildlife. Development of the shore excursion program is ongoing, and more details will be available in the coming months.

Guests on each of Seabourn Venture’s Norwegian Winter voyages will receive complimentary custom-designed jackets and backpacks outfitted by outdoor apparel company Helly Hansen, the official apparel partner for Seabourn. The PolarShield parkas will feature a Helly Tech® outer shell coupled with a removable insulator puff jacket inside. A waterproof WaterShield backpack will also be provided.

Dates and featured destinations of Seabourn Venture’s Norwegian winter itineraries in 2021 and 2022 include:

Norway, Northern Lights & North Cape – Seabourn Venture will embark on a 12-day inaugural voyage from Greenwich, England, to Tromsø, Norway, departing December 11, 2021. The sailing is already sold out based on pre-booking for past Seabourn guests.

Holiday Northern Lights, North Cape & Norway – Guests may spend the holidays and ring in 2022 on Seabourn Venture’s 14-day holiday voyage from Tromsø to Copenhagen, departing December 23, 2021.

Norway & North Cape – In Searchndtrip from Tromsø, departing April 24, 2022. – These 12-day voyages sail between Tromsø and Copenhagen. Departures from Tromsø: January 18 and March 7, 2022. Departures from Copenhagen: January 6 and 30, February 23 and March 19, 2022.

Norway & North Cape – Two 12-day voyages sailing between Tromso & Copenhagen March 31 and April 12, 2022

Norwegian Spring – The 10-day cruise will sail roundtrip from Tromso, departing April 24, 2022.

NCL resumes cruises out of Miami

NCL’s Gem lines up at their new cruise terminal in Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, today celebrated two history making milestones for the Company: Norwegian Gem commenced voyages from the Company’s home city of Miami following a 17-month cruising suspension and the first guests were welcomed into its recently completed NCL Terminal at PortMiami.

Marking the third of the Company’s 17 ships to resume operations after Norwegian Jade from Athens on July 25, 2021 and Norwegian Encore from Seattle on Aug. 7, 2021, Norwegian Gem set sail today on a week-long voyage to the Caribbean with calls to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Harvest Caye, the Company’s private resort destination in Belize.

“It has been an exhilarating few weeks as we relaunch our fleet, reunite with our shipboard families and welcome our guests back for their long-awaited cruise vacations,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “I’ve been impressed and proud of how our global team and partners have come together to safely bring back cruising, an over $55 billion-dollar industry that positively impacts communities around the world.”

Sommer continued, “Today is even more special as it is the first time we are relaunching from our hometown and from the new NCL Terminal at PortMiami. After many months, we are ready to deliver a safe and memorable experience for our guests at every step of their cruise journey.”

Defining the Miami Skyline, the new NCL Terminal at PortMiami can accommodate cruise vessels carrying up to 5,000 cruise guests. The construction marvel was designed with sustainability at the forefront and was built to LEED Gold standards for optimizing energy, water efficiency, air quality and utilization of local materials and resources. In addition, approximately 90% of all subcontractors, vendors and suppliers were local to the region, reducing the carbon footprint of the project and encouraging local economic growth. Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. recently also announced a partnership with Miami-Dade County to make the new state-of-the-art cruise terminal “Shore-Power Ready” by fall 2023.
Constructed by NV2A Group and Haskell, and designed by the Miami-based firm of Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc., the approximately 188,000-square-foot building draws inspiration from a nautilus, with its spiraled and multi-level façade, opening to grand ocean and city views with approximately 122,000 square feet of energy-saving glass features. Its artistically designed exterior is complemented by a carefully curated collection of art throughout the complex as part of Miami Dade County Art in Public Places, a program dedicated to enriching the public environment and to preserving and enhancing the artistic and civic pride of Miami-Dade County.

Norwegian Gem is scheduled to sail a series of week-long voyages to the Caribbean and four-day cruises to the Bahamas through Oct. 17, 2021 before repositioning to New York for five to 11-night voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Bermuda.

CLIA makes statement on Venice

A ship the size of Queen Mary will no longer be allowed to dock in Venice.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomes the decision by the Italian Government to allow for a long-awaited alternative route for cruise ships to access Venice.

The Italian government has banned large cruise ships from passing through the center of Venice, declaring the surrounding lagoon a national monument after years of international outcry over the liners causing permanent harm to the fragile city.

“Ships will no longer pass in front of St. Mark’s or the Giudecca Canal,” he said, referring to the route they traditionally take through the center of the city.

The law applies to ships weighing more than 25,000 tons, measuring more than 590 feet long, or more than 115 feet high.

“It is not going too far to define this day as historic,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, adding that the decree would go into effect on August 1.

For several years, CLIA and its members have been supportive of the Government’s ambition to identify a long-awaited alternative water route to serve Venice. This decision has finally identified this alternative route and port.

The cruise industry has over the years cooperated with national and local authorities constructively throughout as authorities have searched for a sustainable solution to this long-standing and complex challenge.

Commenting on the announcement, Francesco Galietti, CLIA Italy National Director said:

“We are pleased that the Italian Government has taken this decision on an alternative route as the cruise industry has been supportive of a new approach for many years. The Government’s decision to appoint a special Commissioner to fast track the process is also a welcome development. We now look forward to progress being made towards the provision of alternative docking arrangements in time for the 2022 season.”

The cruise industry provides a significant contribution to national economies. In Italy alone, the cruise sector generates a turnover of €14 billion every year, supporting over 120,000 jobs (direct and indirect).

Canada to allow cruise ships Nov. 1st

Radiance of the Seas at Hubbard Glacier – Alaska
Radiance of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

(Nadine El-Bawab CNBC) – Canada will allow cruise ships to operate in its waters starting Nov. 1 if operators comply fully with public health requirements, the country’s minister of transport announced on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the Canadian government had extended its ban on cruises until the end of February 2022. Speaking outside the Ogden Point Deep-Water Terminal in Victoria on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said this would give cruise ship operators time to prepare for the 2022 cruise ship season.

“Our government is now ready to announce that we are accelerating the timeline for resuming cruise ship activity. I am announcing today that cruise ships will be allowed in Canadian waters as of November 1st of this year,” Alghabra said during a news conference.

Canada’s federal transportation department, in a statement Thursday, said it was ready to welcome back cruise ships earlier than anticipated due to the improved public health outlook in Canada as Covid cases drop and vaccinations increase.

The cruise industry brings in more than $4 billion annually for the Canadian economy, indirectly generates 30,000 jobs and is vital for the tourism sector, according to the transportation department.

This decision comes a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made clear that the country will not let in unvaccinated tourists anytime soon, despite the hurting tourism sector.

And the restart of cruises will be dependent on the public health situation at any given time especially in areas where the cruises will dock, Alghabra said Thursday. The Canadian government is still advising citizens to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside the country, he said.

In the U.S., the cruise industry has been one of the last to return to pre-pandemic operations after several high-profile outbreaks on ships last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently allowed cruise operators to begin sailing again, with strict health protocols in place.

Canada and the U.S. extended the ban on non-essential travel across their land border until at least July 21.

 

NCL applies to start sailing again from U.S. ports on July 4

The 169,000 ton Norwegian Encore.

(Reuters, Nivedita Balu) Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said on Monday it had sought the approval of U.S. health authorities to restart trips from U.S. ports from July 4 with mandatory vaccinations for travelers, bringing new hope to the ravaged industry.

The company’s announcement follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance last week to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The move by CEO Frank Del Rio is a bold salvo amid the cruise industry’s escalating frustration with the CDC. Criticism has mounted since Friday, when the agency said travel for vaccinated people was low risk — but also laid out a raft of additional conditions, under a “conditional sailing order,” that cruise lines need to meet before getting permission to operate from U.S. ports.

“I’d like to hear an argument why we couldn’t sail,” Del Rio said in an interview with The Washington Post. “If everyone on board is vaccinated and following the protocols, there is absolutely no need for the conditional sail order to exist as it is known today.”

Del Rio made his case to the CDC in a letter dated Monday.

Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., has sought the approval of U.S. health authorities to restart trips from U.S. ports from July 4.
Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., has sought the approval of U.S. health authorities to restart trips from U.S. ports from July 4. PHOTO BY MARK ELIAS/BLOOMBERG
In the letter, Norwegian Cruise said that its plan was in line with the latest guideline and that it aimed to kick start trips at a 60% capacity starting July 4.

Norwegian also said it would increase the capacity by 20% every 30 days and ramp up departures from U.S. ports for its fleet of 28 ships spread across Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

In addition to the vaccine requirement for passengers of all ages, the company will require negative coronavirus tests, face coverings, contactless food service and other measures.

“We believe that through a combination of 100% mandatory vaccinations … we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment for guests and crew,” Del Rio said.

Shares of Carnival, Norwegian Cruise and Royal Caribbean closed up between 3% and 7% on Monday.

While Carnival Corp noted that the latest guideline was “largely unworkable and stood in stark contrast to the approach taken in other travel and tourism sectors,” Royal Caribbean said it was “reviewing and studying” it.

In a statement, the CDC sounded unmoved by Del Rio’s request, reiterating the approach it has laid out in its order.

“Cruising safely and responsibly during a global pandemic is difficult,” the statement said. “While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the phases of the conditional sailing order will ensure cruise ship passenger operations are conducted in a way that protects crew members, passengers, and port personnel; particularly, with emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.”

Other cruise lines have announced plans to start cruising again for Americans outside the United States – including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean and Greece. In most cases, those cruises will require either everyone on board or those 18 and older to be fully vaccinated.

The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents the three companies, also said the guidance was “burdensome and ambiguous” and urged for a controlled return to service this summer.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, threatened to file a lawsuit if cruises continued to be blocked this summer, according to several media reports. Del Rio copied DeSantis and other elected officials from Florida, home to the world’s busiest cruise ports, on his letter.

With additional reporting from Hannah Sampson, The Washington Post

Urgent Need for Ships to Start Sailing, Says FMC

The U.S. Federal Marine Commission urges cruises to resume in Florida.

By Kenneth Griffin – (The Cruise Examiner) – Last week, the US Federal Marine Commission made its voice known in the world of cruising by backing a return to the seas by the mammoth worldwide fleet of cruise ships that has been laid up, but particularly those that traded from the previously busy ports of Florida.

A report issued by US Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis Sola says there is an urgent need for the cruise industry to resume sailing from Florida cruise ports, citing staggering losses to revenue, local employment and the contributions cruisers make to other tourism sectors such as the airline and hospitality industries.

In its latest, commissioner Sola indicates that Florida has lost $3.2 billion in economic activity and 49,500 local jobs paying approximately $2.3 billion in wages as a result of the suspension of cruising following the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s No-Sail Order, in effect through September 30.

The report notes that Florida is home to the top-three cruise ports in the world, with 59% of all US embarkations taking place in 2018. Including the corporate and administrative staff of the cruise lines headquartered in Florida, the cruise industry was responsible for over 149,000 jobs in the state and $7.69 billion in wages.

The cruise industry produces in $8.49 billion in direct spending each year within Florida.
Sola said: “the financial consequences of laid-up cruise ships are being seen in government coffers and the pockets of working men and women. Across Florida, people recognize the vital necessity of the cruise industry contributing to the economy again.”

Losses for the 2020 cruise season have been staggering for some of Florida’s largest turnaround ports, which also include Port Everglades.

Before the pandemic, Miami welcomed 6.8 million cruise passengers, a world record. As Florida’s busiest cruise port, and one of the largest and busiest in the world, Miami is responsible for over 30,000 local jobs, $5.8 billion in economic value and $188 million in local and state taxes. Miami estimates it will tally a $55-million loss this year.

Losses for Port Canaveral are pegged at 79% of its annual passengers and 16,000 jobs. With no cruises sailing from the port since early March, though, the annual $1.3 billion that is contributed to the local economy by the cruise industry in Port Canaveral and its surrounding area is at high risk.

Nearly 13,000 people were employed directly by the cruise industry in Port Canaveral in 2019, a number that rises to 23,745 if indirect jobs are included as well.

In Key West — Florida’s only cruise port to function solely as a port of call — the cruise industry contributes over $85 million in economic benefits, provides 1,250 local jobs and makes up 15% of the city’s total tax revenue.

The suspension of the cruise industry within Florida also has an impact on other industries within the United States. Cruise passengers contributed nearly $2 billion in fares to the airline industry in 2019. They also contributed $1.1 billion to the local economy in Miami-Dade County from overnight hotel stays, food and beverage, shopping and transportation, etc.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has also joined the FMC in voicing his concern that cruising activity should resume soon. The report notes that the Fact Finding 30 commission will also be assessing the economic impact of the loss of the cruise industry in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest next.