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Travelers anxious for cruise ships to set sail again

Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 17:33:43-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Rebecca Haugland went on a great cruise to Cozumel before the pandemic hit.


Now she's constantly checking when the big boats will be back.

"I cannot wait for it to open back up again," she said.

Pamela López-Cservak with Cruise Planners has been booking ocean trips for 20 years.

She says it's time for the CDC to allow the cruise industry to start sailing again.

"If we can go to a grocery store, we can go to a movie theater, if we can go stay at a restaurant or fly. Why are we penalizing the cruising industry," she said.

Pamela says even though ships aren't sailing now, you can book trips from the U.S., including the Port of Tampa, from July forward.

But there is still a good chance those trips will be canceled.

"Carnival is already sending free drink packages. And Norwegian the same thing. They are definitely already enticing people to book," said López-Cservak.

Governor Ron DeSantis says it's time for a cruise comeback, calling the CDC's shutdown mandate "baseless."

But health experts say cruise ships are still high risk and often sources of super-spreader outbreaks — and not just of COVID.

Pamela says the ships are ready; they just need the green light to go.

"They have redone their HVAC systems; they have implemented protocol for quarantine if that happens. Tracing, things like that," said López-Cservak.

As anxious as Rebecca is to travel again, she tells me she is going to wait until she's vaccinated.

"My mother is vaccinated. She got her second shot, and she did just fine, so I'm ready to be vaccinated as well. And then definitely we are gone," said Haugland.

Those who really can't wait can find cruises leaving from ports in the Bahamas, Bermuda and several Caribbean Islands.