Florida ports lose millions as Disney, Carnival cruise ships stay docked through spring

If you're planning a springtime cruise, you'll have to wait a little longer. Disney and Carnival announced Wednesday they're canceling cruises through the end of May. It's the latest blow to one of the industries really hit hard from the pandemic.

The open waters are more open than ever nowadays as cruise ships remain docked. Passengers' plans of setting sail faced yet another setback Wednesday when both Disney and Carnival cruise lines announced they're canceling cruises through the end of May. 

"Cruising is one of those industries that has a massive trickledown effect. I'm talking hotels, airlines, airports, taxis, Uber drivers, farmers are being impacted," Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler said.

Since the pandemic began, the Florida Ports Council estimates ports alone have lost out on more than $250 million in revenue. Much of that money comes from docking fees and lease agreements between the ports and the cruise lines which haven't been offering any cruises since March of 2020.

Wheeler says it's partly because companies are waiting for guidance from the CDC.

"Cruise lines, as well as cruise ports, are struggling to get the necessary guidance from the CDC on how to properly resume sailing. Cruise lines as well as our ports have worked diligently to come up with protocols, they feel will address concerns," Wheeler said.

READ Florida's cruise industry recovery likely to be a long haul, experts say

When they do come back, Wheeler is certain cruising is sure to look much different. He says some of the suggested protocols could include proof of a negative COVID-19 test to board as well as staffing self-serve buffet lines with workers to serve food instead. All changes to get a drowning industry back to smooth sailing.

Port Tampa Bay says it's working closely with cruise lines to follow the updated CDC guidelines and are ready to welcome them back when they are ready to start sailing again.


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