Carnival Cruise Line is ready to get back on the water. On Monday, the company announced plans to resume cruising on a handful of ships at the start of August.
The plan, as of now, is to restart cruises on August 1, with eight ships in Galveston, Miami, and Port Canaveral. All other cruises will be canceled at least through August.
“We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation,” the company said in a press release that referred to its plan as a “measured approach.” The release also said the company will use the three months between now and the resumption of cruising to “to engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve.”
Carnival’s announcement comes just days after Congress opened an investigation into the company’s handling of COVID-19 outbreaks aboard its ships, which “resulted in more than 1,500 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus aboard its cruise ships, as well as dozens of passenger and crew deaths,” Bloomberg reported Friday
The entire cruise industry has been crushed by the coronavirus outbreak, and Carnival, the largest cruise company in the world, is among the worst off. The Miami–based company saw COVID-19 spread on at least nine of its ships, with some of the most high-profile early outbreaks among its fleet. Among them is the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined at a Japanese port after it emerged as the site of one of the first major outbreaks outside of China.
In a letter to Carnival CEO Arnold Donald last week, Transportation Committee chairman Peter Fazio wrote that the company is not emphasizing “public health and passenger safety.” Instead, Carnival Corporation “is still trying to sell this cruise line fantasy and ignoring the public health threat,” Fazio wrote.