MIAMI - Several Carnival cruise line brands, including AIDA Cruises, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, plan to resume sailings this summer to ports in the Caribbean and Europe.
The Carnival Corporation announced in a statement on Monday that seven of its cruise lines — AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises — will begin sailing from global ports with "adjusted passenger capacity and enhanced health protocols" developed with government and health authorities.
The company said it also hopes to restart U.S. Carnival Cruise Line sailings in July on three ships from ports in Miami and Galveston, Texas. The statement said the company is hopeful that cruises will be allowed to sail to Alaska for part of the summer.
The brands set to resume sailings in Europe and the Caribbean over the next several months will be using a "gradual, phased-in approach," utilizing about 20% of the company's global fleet, according to the statement.
P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises will each offer a series of cruises this summer sailing around U.K. coastal waters, including the inaugural sailing for P&O Cruises' new flagship, Iona, the company said. Cruises will also resume this summer around the Greek Islands with AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line and Seabourn.
Seabourn also announced plans to restart in the Caribbean with new summer sailings out of Barbados.
FILE - The cruise ship Caribbean Princess is pictured off the Bar Harbour in Maine in a file image taken on Nov. 8, 2013. (Photo by: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
"For all of our brands, our highest responsibility and top priorities are always compliance, environmental protection, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, our shipboard and shoreside employees, and the communities we visit," Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation, said in the statement. "We are excited to have the majority of our leading cruise line brands resume sailings this summer, as we are seeing strong pent-up demand from our past guests and consumers in general to get away on a cruise, one of the world's most popular vacations."
Frizzell called the resumption of cruises "a critical step in the recovery of our brands and the industry as a whole," noting the positive economic impact and jobs filled across the industry.
In the U.S., cruise lines have been essentially closed for business since mid-March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cruise association estimates that the suspension of cruises snuffed out more than $25 billion in economic activity and 164,000 American jobs.
In October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Conditional Sailing Order for cruise operators, serving as guidance for a phased approach to the resumption of passenger cruises.
As part of this phased approach, the CDC issued guidance for two new phases earlier this month, including technical instructions for simulated voyages, and said operators now have all necessary requirements needed "to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages."
The agency also released the COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate application, which it signaled was "the final step before restricted passenger voyages."
This story was reported from Cincinnati.