Port of Galveston Calls for CDC to “Allow Phased Cruising Now”

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We’ve heard a lot from the State of Florida on urging the cruise industry to open back up and now the fourth most popular cruise port in the U.S. has joined. The Port of Galveston in Texas stands ready and has urged the lifting of the Conditional Sailing Order.

This follows a major new development announced by Florida Gov. DeSantis on Thursday with the state filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to allow the reopening of cruises immediately.

Port of Galveston Wants CDC Order Lifted

Galveston Wharves CEO and Port Director Rodger Rees has released an open plea on calling for the CDC to lift its Conditional Sailing Order, which was first introduced at the end of October 2020. Rees urges the CDC to “allow phased cruising now” and joins many others across the cruise industry to get cruises restarted in July.

On April 2, 2021, the CDC did release the first part of its second phase as part of the Conditional Sailing Order framework. However, the new technical instructions have not provided any clear timeline on resuming operations in the U.S.

Worth Reading: Things to Do in Galveston, TX for Cruise Visitors

Many across the industry have said that the CDC guidelines are outdated and don’t take into the fact that cruise lines have come out with new ways to make sure guests and crew remain safe. The vaccines have also changed the game, which is claimed the CDC has not taken into account.

In the open plea, Port Director Rodger Rees included “the CDC has taken no action despite the following facts:”

  • Millions of Americans are vaccinated
  • COVID case numbers in the U.S. have declined significantly in recent months
  • Cruise ports and cruise lines have put measures in place for safe, sustainable cruising
  • Cruising in markets around the world has resumed while preventing or limiting spread of the virus

The Port of Galveston also shares the CDC’s goal to make sure guests and crew can remain safe. Ports, including Galveston, are working with cruise lines for added protection from cruise vacations, and cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean have already proved that cruises can operate safely.

The port has invested $100,000 to reduce the spread of the virus at its two current terminals including touchless bathroom fixtures, plexiglass shields in customer service areas, and enhanced air handling systems.

Cruise Ships in Port Galveston
Photo: Copyright Cruise Hive

Cruise Shutdown Impacts Texas

As the fourth most popular U.S. cruise homeport, there is no doubt that it’s had a huge impact across Texas with no cruises. It has resulted in a $1.2 billion loss in direct spending and a reduction of 23,000 jobs statewide.

The two largest cruise lines of Carnival and Royal Caribbean do have operations out of the port. Even a new cruise terminal is planned to expand operations even further with the larger Oasis-class vessels from Royal Caribbean.

Also Read: 22 Ideal Hotels Near Galveston Cruise Port

Rees finished in his plea highlighting that “This multi-billion-dollar industry is the ONLY industry prohibited by the federal government from operating, even as other sectors of travel, tourism, and hospitality have opened or continued to operate throughout the pandemic.”

He finished saying that it’s critical that the cruise industry be allowed to sail with hundreds and thousands of U.S. jobs at risk.

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