Port Canaveral sees cruise industry ramp up as sailings go out

Port Canaveral has a busy week ahead as the cruise ship industry kicks back up. You can see the ships next to the dock: one sure sign that business, life, and travel are coming back.

Carnival's Mardi Gras returned to Port Canaveral just this week from its first paid passenger cruise since the COVID-19 pandemic first started with all passengers vaccinated. During the seven-day cruise, guests visited the ports of San Juan, Amber Cove, and Nassau and had the opportunity to ride BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea.

Coming up, Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas will set sail from Port Canaveral on Sunday on its first revenue cruise with passengers. The ship successfully completed a test cruise just weeks ago.

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Then, on Monday, the Disney Dream will set sail on its first revenue cruise at 7 p.m. on a four-night sailing to the Bahamas. The ship also embarked on a test cruise last month with Disney employees.

This will be the busiest weekend for cruises from Port Canaveral as the industry tries to get back to business. Cruises have been shut down for more than 17 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Over the next two to three weeks, you're going to see a lot of activity of active sailings out of Port Canaveral. And that's what's got us excited right now," said Canaveral Port Authority CEO Captain John Murray.

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Safety remains a priority for cruise line officials though. For example, Royal Caribbean is making all passengers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they board.

At Port Canaveral's Sunrise Marina, manager Adam Der says it was tough without the big ships at the port. 

"It was very slow," he said. "Sometimes a little boring, but you kind of keep busy and do what you do."

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Regarding the cruise ships back at the port, he added, "It's great to see, man. A lot of people looking forward to getting back on those cruises and having a good time."

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