Carnival Announces Additional Ship Restarts But Jacksonville Isn’t On Sept., Oct. List

Jul 20, 2021

Carnival Cruise Line is planning to continue ramping its operations back up in September and October, but so far Jacksonville’s Carnival Ecstasy doesn’t have a firm back-in-service date.

Carnival announced Monday that sailings from Jacksonville “will be canceled through Oct. 31,” implying that sometime in November would be the earliest that cruises from JAXPORT might resume.

In September, Carnival is planning to put three ships back in service: Carnival Glory from New Orleans, starting Sept. 5, Carnival Pride from Baltimore, starting Sept. 12, and Carnival Dream from Galveston, starting Sept. 19.

Then in October, four additional ships are scheduled to restart: Carnival Conquest from Miami, effective Oct. 8, Carnival Freedom from Miami, effective Oct. 9, Carnival Elation from Port Canaveral, effective Oct. 11, and Carnival Sensation from Mobile, effective Oct. 21.

"We are very excited about our restart and greatly appreciate the support of our guests, travel agents and port and destination partners," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a news release.  "By the end of July, we will have five ships in our restart plan, including the introduction of service on Mardi Gras, and we are seeing a great combination of strong demand and strong guest satisfaction scores tied to the positive guest experience on board."

A dispute over cruise ship restrictions between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Florida still lacks a permanent resolution.

Monday a federal appeals court put on hold a ruling that backed Florida in the battle about restrictions on the cruise-ship industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carnival didn’t address the Florida/CDC dispute in its Monday update, but did say:

Carnival will continue to welcome unvaccinated guests on board, but all unvaccinated guests including children under the age of 12, will be subject to pre-cruise and pre-embarkation testing and testing again prior to debarkation (on cruises longer than four days) along with a $150 per person charge to cover the costs of testing, reporting and health and safety screenings. 

At this time, Carnival is limiting operation of its supervised youth programs to vaccinated children and youth 12 years and older.

Unvaccinated guests departing from Florida (effective July 31) and Texas (effective Aug. 2) will also need to show proof of travel insurance coverage, based on the itineraries being sailed and the requirements of ports and destinations visited.

These additional measures will be in place through at least October but may be extended based on guidance from public health and medical advisors and the requirements of destination partners.

Booked guests and travel advisors are being notified of the plans for the returning ships.

Guests who want to change their plans, who are unable to wait to see if they receive an exemption, or who cannot meet the vaccination standards may change their reservation without penalty or request a full refund, Carnival said. Here's more information from Carnival.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.