It has been almost a year since the last passengers departed on a cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida. Disney Cruise Line has canceled all cruises through May and some through August. In spite of all of this, Canaveral Port Authority CEO Capt. John Murray remains hopeful that cruises will soon be able to depart from Port Canaveral.
Even though Murray is hopeful, it could still take months before cruises return to Port Canaveral. “At the time, everyone thought it was going to be 30 days, 45 days, and the industry would develop a plan and move forward,” Capt. Murray said. “But the CDC order remains in effect a year later…no end in sight when they might consider lifting the restrictions on sailing.”
The port’s cargo business has been able to continue, but parking lots and passenger terminals remain empty. The Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, and Disney Wonder are all currently off the coast of Port Canaveral, but they only come to port for maintenance and supplies.
“It’s been devastating to the businesses here. You know the hotels, the tourism is just taking a hit, and we’ve got ground transportation drivers, Uber drivers, LYFT drivers, buses from Orlando, you name it,” Murray said.
Now that President Biden signed a new stimulus bill, Florida’s ports will receive some relief. Still, Murray says the real relief for the port won’t come until more Americans get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s going to take the industry months to get back up and running,” Murray said. “It’s not something that if they said the restrictions are lifted tomorrow, we’d have our first ship on the weekend. It’s not going to happen.” It will take time to get crew members back and retrained on the new cruise protocols.
Disney Cruise Line is also hopeful regarding the return to sailing. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said they are hoping to resume sailings this fall.
Stay tuned for more updates and info! If you’d like to plan and book your next cruise, contact me today for a free, no-obligation quote!