Even though Carnival cruise ships are starting to resume operations, the situation remains fluid and different ports may have different restrictions. As a result, the cruise line sent out an update to guests with the ports of Grand Cayman and Key West being swapped out on multiple sailings.
Carnival Itinerary Changes
Carnival Cruise Line has sent an important itinerary change to guests, which impacts five ships, including Carnival Vista, Carnival Dream, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise, Carnival Glory, and even the new Mardi Gras.
With Grand Cayman remaining closed to cruise ships into early 2021, the port has been removed from four Carnival Vista seven-day sailings impacting departures on September 4, 18, and October 2, 16, and 30, 2021. For those cruises, the vessel will be sailing to Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cozumel out of the ship’s homeport of Galveston, Texas.
For Carnival Dream, only one sailing is currently impacted. The scheduled call to Key West will no longer occur for the September 25 eight-day departure from the Port of Galveston. The ship will be calling at Freeport, Carnival’s private island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau, all in the Bahamas.
Two Carnival Horizon sailings out of PortMiami are impacted. The six-day voyages departing on September 12 and 26 include visits to Bimini, Half Moon Cay, and Amber Cove.
Carnival Sunrise out of Miami is the most heavily impacted with multiple changes, and Key West is no longer on the route. The five-day September 6 departure will call to half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Bimini. The five-day cruise departing on September 11 and October 9 will include Ocho Rios and Bimini. The four-day voyage departing on September 16 and October 28 will visit Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The five-day September 20 cruise will visit Ocho Rios and Nassau. The five-day cruise departing on September 25 will sail to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Bimini.
Based out of New Orleans, Carnival Glory will have its seven-day September 5 and 19 departures, including visits to Bimini, Freeport, and Nassau.
Mardi Gras, the newest ship in the fleet, based out of Port Canaveral, will have five cruises adjusted. The seven-day departures on September 11, 25, and October 9 and 23 will call to San Juan, Amber Cove, and Nassau.
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Why the Changes?
The Cayman Islands has a plan to reopen to international travel gradually, but for cruise ships, that won’t be until January 27 at the earliest. Other cruise lines will also have to make changes if they include Grand Cayman on their itineraries.
Key West is another port of call that’s been removed from some sailings. This comes as there is a lot of uncertainty for larger cruise ships. Despite Florida Gov. Desantis recently overruling the limit on larger cruise ships, the situation remains fluid. Originally, Key West voted to limit the daily cruise ship visitors to 1,500, prohibit cruise ships with 1,300 passengers or more from docking, and give priority docking to cruise lines that have a good environmental record.
The good news is that Bimini has fast become a popular port replacement due to completing the pier at Bimini World Resorts, owned by Genting. This allows cruise ships to dock at the stunning island in the Bahamas and enjoy popular areas such as the Beach Club.
For now, the situation could change even further as Carnival cruise line restarts operations from the U.S. More ships are set to restart through October, and the fleet should be back fully before the end of the year.