As cruisers wait patiently for their chance to sail once again, a spokesperson for the Florida Ports Council has expressed doubts that the industry will see significant operations until 2022.
Michael Rubin, VP of Governmental Affairs for the Florida Ports Council, speaking at a meeting of the Florida Senate Committee on Transportation this week, said “I’m not sure we’ll have significant cruise operations until perhaps next year and even beyond that.”
The Florida Ports Council is a nonprofit organization which represents the interests of the 15 major seaports in the state of Florida. The board of directors is comprised of the 15 port directors with the goal of advocacy, leadership and information on port-related issues before the legislative and executive branches of the Florida state and federal government.
I’m not sure we’ll have significant cruise operations until perhaps next year and even beyond that.
Speaking to the committee on Tuesday, Rubin noted that 60% of the cruises across the United States take place in Florida and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the state and industry as a whole. He called the requirements set forth for cruise lines in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s conditional sail order “onerous” and noted that the cruising is the only industry in the United States which hasn’t been allowed to return to operation.
“I think all of our ports and the cruise lines are trying to work with the CDC to say we’ll have protocols, we’ll have masks, we’ll sail at half capacity so we can quarantine people if they need to be quarantined,’” he said.
Next month will mark the one year anniversary of the CDC shutting down cruises and the thought of another year of waiting is an absolute nightmare for not just cruise lines and their employees, but vacationers who prefer the comfort and ease of a cruise vacation compared to any other kind of getaway.
You can watch the full Florida Senate Committee on Transportation at The Florida Channel’s website. Skip to the 53 minute mark for Michael Rubin’s comments to the Senate members.