(update 3:37 p.m. EDT) – Carnival Cruise Line confirmed its July restart in the U.S. on June 7, with two ships sailing with a full vaccination requirement from Galveston.
The cruises are only open to passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning that they have received their final dose at least 14 days prior to the start of the cruise. By default, the vaccine rule means that children under 12 will not be able to sail.
The U.S. Centes for Disease Control and Prevenion approved the ships to sail on June 8.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, who had previously said that the line would not require vaccines, acknowledged the difficulties that cruise lines have in sailing with unvaccinated guests.
"We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us. As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests," she said.
Carnival had also identified Carnival Horizon for a July restart, sailing from Miami. In its announcement, the line said that it would continue to work with the state of Florida and the CDC and provide an update on required protocols by Friday.
Carnival guests booked on August sailings will receive information about those in the next few days, the line said.
The decision to sail from Texas had meant that the line was not subject to the ruling in Florida passed by Gov. Ron de Santis that has instituted a vaccine passport ban.
The same day that Carnival announced its fully vaccinated requirement for the Galveston sailings, however, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill prohibiting businesses from requiring any vaccine information.
“We are evaluating the legislation recently signed into law in Texas regarding vaccine information,” Carnival said in a statement to Cruise Critic. “The law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols in accordance with federal law which is consistent with our plans to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidelines.”
Ships operating in Florida are trying to find their way around the vaccine passport law. Among states with ports, Alabama also has such a law in place.