PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Only one ship was spotted in Port Canaveral on Thursday, as the rest remain just off the coast so cruise lines don't have to pay daily port costs.
The cruise industry is at the mercy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is taking a tough stance during the coronavirus pandemic.
The CDC’s "no sail" order for cruise ships is in effect until July 24. When the voyages begin again, will the CDC still advise the public that cruising is risky to your health? Things are chilly right now between the CDC and the companies.
"It’s really not just the port, it’s our entire extended community that’s being impacted," says CEO of Port Canaveral Capt. John Murray.
Port Canaveral's revenue is down more than $7 million a month, and the nearby hotels where passengers stay before and after their trips are also hurting. The CDC is about to debut a grading system for ships based on their history of COVID-19 cases.
Travel Agent Shane Lawrence has many loyal cruise customers, and every vacation, they want to be on a ship. He says despite the coronavirus, the public demand and enthusiasm for cruising is still there.
"I really think there’s not gonna be any problem filling those boats. People are super-excited and they know now it’s going to be just as clean as any place, especially when you think about walking into your local Walmart or walking into the cafeteria, you know, the cruise ships are having to monitor everything and make sure everything is super clean."
To that point, right now, the CDC is in the final days of review of the plans submitted by the cruise lines. The companies were ordered to show the CDC how they will detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"This is a huge issue for the state of Florida," Murray adds.
Disney and Carnival are looking at August 1 for a re-start, and Port Canaveral is key in their comeback plans.