MSC Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line became the latest cruise companies this week to announce planned restarts in the United States this summer.
Carnival plans to sail out of Galveston, Texas beginning July 3 on the Carnival Vista, followed by sailings on the Carnival Breeze on July 15, the company said in a statement. All guests must have their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before boarding these cruises.
"We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us," Christine Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement. "As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests."
MSC Cruises, which sailed the Mediterranean last summer and sailed out of Venice last weekend, will head out on Aug. 2 on the MSC Meraviglia from Miami to the Bahamas, the company shared with Travel + Leisure. The trips will include a stop on MSC's new private island.
On Sept. 16, the company will add sailings from Orlando to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on the MSC Divina, including a trip to the company's private island.
Unlike several other cruise lines planning to sail in the U.S. and around the world, MSC will not require passengers to be vaccinated before boarding, the company said. Unvaccinated passengers will have to undergo "requirements such as additional testing, as well as restrictions, which will be announced at a later date."
All crew will be vaccinated.
"With our vast experience cruising in Europe since August 2020 along with our industry-leading health and safety protocol, our guests can book with confidence knowing we are well prepared for a successful restart in the U.S.," Rubén Rodriguez, the president of MSC Cruises USA, said in a statement provided to T+L.
The new cruise plans come days after Royal Caribbean announced summer sailings out of Florida and Texas, and reversed course on its vaccine policy, making the jab optional for most of its sailings.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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