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No plans for Carnival to move ships from US homeports: Duffy

'We are extremely anxious to resume cruising when the time is right and, hopefully, from the US,' Christine Duffy said
Carnival Cruise Line does not have any plans to move its ships away from their US homeports, President Christine Duffy said Thursday.

Nor has the line made a decision on a vaccination requirement.

Dramatic week

It's been a dramatic week for the US cruise industry, with several lines announcing plans to resume outside US waters, calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift its seemingly stalled conditional sail order and the CDC's indication it has no intention of doing so.

Duffy's message was steady at the helm.

'As more Americans are vaccinated, our focus is on securing a decision that will allow for a resumption in cruising from our US homeports, consistent with the expected return of other forms of travel for the summer,' the Carnival chief said in a video message to travel partners.

'We are extremely anxious to resume cruising when the time is right and, hopefully, from the US.'

CDC guidance unchanged

The CDC has not changed their original guidance about the conditional sailing order, Duffy added, despite widespread misreporting to the contrary.

'The timing for restart in the US continues to be uncertain,' she said, noting that some lines have canceled their June sailings and several recently announced itineraries that will operate outside the US and require travelers over 18 and all crew to be vaccinated.

As well, some Carnival Corp. sister brands are offering limited sailings for vaccinated travelers.

But Carnival Cruise Line has no plans to move ships away from the US, Duffy stated.

'I have always said Carnival Cruise Line is America's cruise line. We sail from 14 US homeports. Fifty percent of our itineraries are less than seven-day sailings and a significant number of our guests drive to their Carnival vacation. We also sail more families and children than any other cruise line,' Duffy said, noting that so far, the vaccines are not approved for anyone under 16.

Optimistism for summer travel

'But with the promise that all Americans who want a vaccine will have access to one by the end of May, we are optimistic that we will see travel resume in time for summer.

'Now if it's safe to fly on an airplane, stay in a hotel or visit an amusement park, it should be safe to cruise on a ship with the additional health and safety protocols that we have in place,' Duffy said.

Vaccinations encouraged

Carnival's encouraged by recent vaccine distribution and the positive progress this signals.

'Vaccines are a very important tool along with advancements in treatment therapies for COVID, and contact tracing technology and affordable testing,' Duffy continued. 'Our decisions about vaccines continue to be informed by our global medical and science and of course from the places where we operate our ships and the destinations we visit.'

The Carnival chief expressed the hope that people will get vaccinated, adding she herself is getting the shots.

No decision about June sailings

'We here at Carnival have not made a decision about our June sailings, if in fact we could be given the opportunity to restart cruising from the US,' Duffy said, adding that anyone on June departures may cancel without penalty and final payment deadlines for June cruises are being moved back to April 30.