PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Port Canaveral is the first port in the United States to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to workers and ship crew members, port officials said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there is a chance cruise lines could be back on the water by mid-July as long as 98 percent of crew members are vaccinated.
The Disney Dream sailed out, with newly vaccinated crew members on Friday.
The CEO of Port Canaveral, Capt John Murray, said it’s the first U.S. Port to sponsor COVID-19 vaccines to workers and crew members in the country.
Travel agents, like Gayle Fortin of Cruise Planners, said it’s a big step in getting back to business.
"We are so, so excited to see this happening. We have been having multiple meetings with the cruise lines with their upper management staff to help us get prepared, to prepare the clients for what they can expect. "
She added that ships are doing a good job managing mask requirements. We asked if people have started booking cruises again.
"Holy cow, yes! We have had the busiest three weeks that we’ve had!" she said.
Fortin said she has seen an increase of around 225%, compared to this time last year.
"What’s really exciting is, they were all new bookings."
And more cruise passengers means more business for local restaurants like Fishlips.
"The cruise ships going back to business means business as usual. And at the end of the day, we have to do what we want to do," said Fishlips general manager Michael Schwarz.
"'Someday' is here and I think that sums up what the clients are saying and what the ships are saying," Fortin added.
She said there will be some differences. For example, servers will serve food at the buffets and passengers will also do safety training from inside their cabins.
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