South Florida cruise ship industry may be ready to resume operations in the summer

PORT EVERGLADES, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida’s cruise ship industry may be ready to resume in the summer, as vaccinations against COVID-19 continue to be distributed across the region.

To say there’s excitement brewing at ports across South Florida is an understatement.

“It’s going to be great. It’s gonna be great for the community,” Port Everglades Deputy Director Glenn Wiltshire said. “I think there’s going to be jubilation.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava shared that she spoke with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the industry, saying in statement, “We are excited that the CDC will shortly be issuing new guidelines for a restart to cruising, taking into consideration the advancements made possible by the vaccine.”

At a round-table discussion in March, the cruise industry met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss the impact the pandemic has had on business.

“It’s been a devastating year for our industry and our business,” Royal Caribbean President/CEO Michael Bayley said. “We’ve effectively been shut down for over a year.”

“A lot of job losses, a lot of people having to be furloughed, let go,” Apollo Group President/CEO Jose Ramon Barrera said.

Wiltshire said the cruising industry brings billions of dollars to South Florida every year.

With so many moving parts involved, Wiltshire said it will still be a while before passengers can start sailing.

“It will take two or three months for the cruise lines to actually re-crew all of their ships, get them ready to go to be able to take on passengers,” Wiltshire said.

DeSantis has threatened to take legal action against the CDC if cruising does not resume by the summer.

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