Cruises sailing out of the Bahamas, St. Maarten begin in June
ORLANDO, Fla. - With vaccinations ramping up, cruises are making a comeback. But before you hop on a ship, you’ll first need to catch a plane.
"There’s a lot of pent-up demand for sure."
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises made the big announcement Friday: A return to Caribbean cruises starting this June.
"I’m excited. I think it’s time. We’re all starting to get our vaccinations, get back some sense of normal, get some vacation, get some relaxation, good for our mental health," said Kim Schuchardt, who was visiting Orlando from Maryland.
"I think it’s kind of a good, promising sign that they’re going to start reopening even if it’s in this limited capacity," said Aquetas Travel owner John Morrison.
It’s limited in that you won’t be able to cruise out of Florida. Royal Caribbean Cruises will sail out of the Bahamas, and Celebrity Cruises out of St. Maarten, which means you’ll first have to fly.
Both the Bahamas and St. Maarten require negative COVID tests to enter the country, no matter your age or vaccination status. All the cruises will require adults 18 and older to be fully vaccinated. But how things will look on the ship itself is still unclear.
"In general, they are probably going to have to reduce the capacity just to keep the general population areas from not being overwhelmed. But again, they haven’t really released a lot of details about what specific guidelines they’re going to have onboard," Morrison said.
Morrison says cruises out of Singapore have been successful with social distancing and reduced capacity in certain parts of the ship, like buffets.
Some travelers we spoke with all are for it.
"Yeah, definitely I look forward to doing one soon."
Others, not so much.
"It’s kind of dangerous, being close in such close quarters with people that you don’t know. It’s definitely a risk," said Jay Rondon, of Orlando.
FOX 35 reached out to the captain at Port Canaveral. He sent us a statement saying, in part:
"It’s quite possible announcements like these will continue to happen as long as the federal Centers for Disease Control has the industry on lockdown. It’s pushing American business offshore affecting thousands of American jobs."
The cruise lines cannot set sail from the U.S. until the CDC approves it. On many websites, cruise lines are listing hopeful sail dates, but they may continue to be canceled or postponed, as has happened throughout the pandemic.