Carnival Cruise Line has informed guests of a change to their upcoming itinerary as the cruise line is still unable to make calls to Key West. There are itinerary changes for three cruise ships with sailings in January and February 2022.
Carnival Cruise Line Itinerary Changes
Guests booked on upcoming sailings have received a notification from Carnival Cruise Line on itinerary changes for the Carnival Dream, Carnival Conquest, and Carnival Sunrise. Only select sailings are impacted in January and February that featured a call in Key West, Florida.
The cruise port has now been dropped on sailings for those three vessels, and the notification was only sent out on January 13 to impacted guests, not leaving much time between the first altered departure for Carnival Dream on January 15.
Carnival said in the communication, “As we refine our operational plans, we are still unable to call on Key West for the sailings indicated below. The itinerary changes will be reflected on Carnival.com within 24 hours.”
For Carnival Dream out of Galveston in Texas, there are three itinerary changes. The sailings that depart on January 15, 29, and February 12, 2022, will now only be calling at Freeport, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, all in the Bahamas. Key West was previously scheduled to be the first port of call during those voyages, but that is not the case now.
Four sailings have dropped Key West for the Carnival Conquest based out of Miami in Florida. Departures on January 24, 31, February 7, and February 21, 2022, have all dropped a call to Key West. Those four-day sailings will now only include a visit to Cozumel in Mexico.
Carnival Sunrise has just its February 3 sailing impacted, also based out of Miami, Florida. The three-day voyage will only include a call in Cozumel, Mexico, with Key West being dropped.
Carnival Cruise Line is automatically refunding any pre-purchased shore excursions that were booked through the cruise line back onto the Sail & Sign account. It is also important to note that some port arrival and departure times have changed.
Why Is Key West Dropped?
It’s a complex situation in Key West, with locals calling for a ban on cruise ships. In fact, in November 2020, residents voted to ban the largest cruise ships, including a limit of daily cruise ship visits at 1,500 passengers, with no cruise ships with 1,300 passengers being allowed to dock, and giving priority to cruise ships with the best health environmental records.
Despite the vote being a success to limit and ban the largest ships, it was all overturned by Florida Govoner Ron DeSantis in summer 2021. Bill 1194 was signed, resulting in what would have been 94% of the banned cruise ships to continue calls.
However, it has not been that simple as there has been an even stronger push to ban or limit the vessels in Key West. The Safer Cleaner Ships movement has been set up with the aim to protect the local reefs and environment.
On its website, the Safer Cleaner Ships states, “On June 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cancelled the results of a free and fair election in Key West and overturned limits on cruise ship operations enacted by a supermajority of local voters. Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Great Florida Reef are again threatened by some of the largest and most destructive cruise ships in the world.”
“We support the hard-working people of the Florida Keys and will keep fighting to protect our reef, our fishery, and our economy from the threat of large cruise ships.”
The movement has been protesting against any larger cruise ships that have already visited Key West. When it comes to Carnival Cruise Line, Safer Cleaner Ships was set to protest when Carnival Sunrise was set to call on January 7, which would have been the first in the fleet to return to the cruise port in almost two years. Carnival Conquest also cancelled a call on her January 10 sailing. The cruise line stated earlier in January, “We are still in discussions with the Key West officials on our restart plans. For the time being, we will skip the call to Key West for the sailings indicated below. This will allow us to extend our time in Cozumel, Mexico.”
What happens moving forward remains to be seen, but for now, Carnival cruise ships will continue to keep away from Key West until the issue is resolved.