July 3, just over one year ago, was the day that Carnival Cruise Line made its long-awaited return to service. Carnival Vista became the first Carnival cruise ship to set sail from the United States.
It had been more than fifteen months since a Carnival Cruise Ship had sailed from the US, and it came with a long list of requirements, most of which have been changed significantly since then.
What has also changed is the number of ships now operating. At the time, it would have been nearly unthinkable for the entire fleet to be operating again within a year but, that is exactly what the Miami-based cruise line did. Not bad for the cruise line celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
Carnival Cruise Line Celebrates One Year Of Service
Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line celebrates one year of service in the COVID-19 era in the same year the company celebrates its 50th birthday. And indeed, there is more than enough to celebrate.
During a time when it seemed all but sure that cruises could be going ahead successfully, Carnival Cruise Line scheduled Carnival Vista to be the first Carnival Cruise ship to set sail from a US port.
Operating from Galveston, Texas, the resumption was celebrated at the port with a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy and Carnival Vista’s captain Andrea Catalani.
“Seeing our guests board the ship for the first time in over 15 months was a welcome and emotional sight. The excitement our guests have for Carnival cruising knows no bounds and it’s great to be able to have them enjoy our unique vacation experience and of course see our amazing crew once again.”
Onboard the ship were 2,940 guests, around 60% of the total capacity of the 133,596 gross ton cruise ship. This low number was mainly due to the many health and safety protocols.
Carnival Proves Naysayers Wrong
If one thing became apparent during the initial start-up phase for cruises in the United States, it was that those who focused their energy and focus on the mistakes made during the initial outbreak phase in early 2020 had not lost their outdated views.
But, the initial start-up phase paved the way for the challenging but successful road to recovery that Carnival Cruise Line set course on.
With a wide variety of health and safety protocols, such as wearing masks, a vaccination mandate that sparked political discussions, social distancing onboard, testing before boarding, and much more, Carnival managed to silence those naysayers who said it couldn’t and shouldn’t be done.
Within One Year, All Ships Are Operational
Not a single person in Carnival Cruise Line will deny it has been the hardest two and a half years in the company’s history. But through it all, Carnival’s crew members, officers, office staff, and guests also showed their resilience.
On July 3, Carnival Vista set sail, and on July 4, Carnival Horizon. Carnival Breeze became the third ship in the fleet to resume operations and was the second to do so out of Galveston, Texas. She departed from the Port of Galveston on July 17.
Then it was time for one of the most important and iconic ships in Carnival’s fleet to start operations. On July 31, Mardi Gras became the fifth ship in the fleet to begin sailings and the first to resume out of Port Canaveral in Florida. Carnival Splendor became the last ship in the fleet to resume operations from Seattle on May 2.
During the one-year period, more than two million guests stepped onboard a Carnival cruise ship. While the pandemic was brutal to the cruise line, its guests, the crew, and everyone else involved. It has also been an important wake-up call.
During the pandemic, Carnival Cruise Line sold off several of its older, less effective, more polluting ships and is now a much leaner, cleaner, and organized company.
This year, Carnival Cruise Line is celebrating its 50th birthday. A birthday that could not be honored at a better time. And with ships such as Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee joining the fleet this year and next year, the future is bright for America’s favorite cruise line.