Playing in the Petri Dish: Carnival Cruise Line to Resume Service on August 1

Who feels like embarking on a multi-day trip in close proximity with thousands of strangers?

byJames Gilboy|
Playing in the Petri Dish: Carnival Cruise Line to Resume Service on August 1

Most people's idea of hell during a once-in-a-century pandemic is being confined in a small area with total strangers. This unwillingness to be in close proximity with others combined with the discouragement of nonessential travel has brought the transportation industry to a near-standstill and forced its players to make the Darwinian decision to adapt or die. For the auto industry, that has meant the popularization of contactless car sales, and for airlines, the enactment of aggressive sterilization and mandatory mask policies. The cruise industry? It's full steam ahead—at least for the allegedly pollution-spewing Carnival Cruise Line, which announced Monday that it will launch its next cruises as soon as August 1.

Carnival Cruise Line

Though health experts agree that COVID-19 won't be out of our collective hair for some time, with grimmer models outlining up to two more years of social distancing, Carnival nevertheless plans to resume partial service in August with the launch of eight ships from Galveston, Miami, and Port Canaveral. These three cities account for more than 14,000 confirmed cases of and 400 deaths from coronavirus according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard.

The mercifully bailout-missing cruise line claims it is "committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation," and that it is "taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests."

Carnival did not specify any anti-coronavirus precautions that it would proactively take, and as anyone who has bothered to read the news for the last two months would know, car accessibility won't be nearly enough to stop an infected individual from getting aboard. Only rigorous screening and quarantine programs could guarantee passengers' safety, and though Carnival affirms it will at least follow the letter of the law when it comes to resuming operations, the jury's still out on whether resuming cruise service is in keeping with its spirit.

"Any resumption of cruise operations—whenever that may be—is fully dependent on our continued efforts in cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials," stated Carnival. "In our continued support of public health efforts, any return to service will also include whatever enhanced operational protocols and social gathering guidelines that are in place at the time of the resumption of cruise operations."

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