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Carnival in Active Discussions With CDC to Begin Sailing in July

By Rich Duprey - May 17, 2021 at 4:01PM

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But the cruise operator is seeking a level playing field for the industry.

Carnival (CCL 1.71%) (CUK 1.56%) is in active discussions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin sailing again in July, according to NBC News, but says it wants to ensure the cruise ship industry is treated equally to every other business in the country.

Under current CDC guidelines, cruise ships are required to ensure every crew member and passenger is vaccinated against COVID-19, a restriction no other industry is required to operate under.

Moreover, because children are less susceptible to the coronavirus strain, there are no official government requirements for them to be vaccinated, although officials encourage it. Yet summer cruises in particular are family-oriented voyages, which would become impossible if every passenger had to be vaccinated.

Carnival Princess Cruise ship

Image source: Carnival.

In an exclusive interview tonight on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Carnival president Christine Duffy confirmed the cruise operator was in active discussions with the CDC as the company is "working through the details" of sailing again in July.

Citing President Joe Biden's call to reopen the country fully by July 4, Duffy noted no other business has to require every customer be vaccinated. "We certainly are encouraging everyone to get a vaccine," she said. "I think, again, we don't want to be treated differently than any other part of travel tourism, entertainment, or society."

The cruise industry has been completely shuttered for 15 months and though all parties say they want to get it up and running again, Duffy says, "we're not there yet."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is suing the CDC over its decision to not allow cruise lines to sail. Florida is a key port of call for the cruise ship industry. Carnival and other operators have lost billions of dollars since the pandemic began and have taken on billions in debt to remain solvent through the crisis.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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