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Carnival says it will begin cruises again in August after massive coronavirus outbreaks forced it to cease operations

Passengers of the Carnival Sensation, operated by Carnival Cruise Line.

Jorge Delgado/Reuters

Some Carnival cruises will resume in August, the company said Monday. 

The cruise giant is prioritizing ports Miami, Galveston, and Canaveral, where customers can avoid flying to their departure. 

The coronavirus pandemic has hobbled cruise operators, who are anxious to restart their boats — and revenue streams. 

To coax back anxious travelers, Carnival is offering deals as low as $30 per day for cruises from Texas to Mexico. 

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Carnival Cruise Lines said Monday that some of its North American routes will resume August 1, with others coming on line later in the summer.

The new dates are an extension of the company’s previously planned return-to-service date of June 26. Carnival said it has prioritized resuming cruises from its ports that are more easily accessible by car so that passengers don’t have to fly to their vacation.

Miami and Port Canaveral, Florida, and Galveston, Texas are slated to resume operations on August 1 with some of Carnival’s largest ships. All other North American cruises are cancelled until September, the company said. Cruises from Seattle and Vancouver, as well as a route from Brisbane, Australia to Hawaii, are cancelled until October 6 at the earlier.

“We will use this additional time to continue to engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve,” Carnival said in a press release. “We appreciate the understanding and support of our guests and travel agent partners and look forward to welcoming them on board as the environment for travel and tourism improves.”

The cancellation of virtually all cruises worldwide has had a ruinous financial effect for their operators. Carnival lost $781 million between December and February, compared to the $336 million profit it made during those same months a year earlier, as ships remained docked. 

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To lure back cruise-goers, Carnival is offerings sailings for the newly announced voyages priced as low as $28 per day. The deals were first spotted by Bloomberg News, and can whisk travelers from Texas to Mexico over a five-day cruise for as little as $139 before taxes and fees. 

Before Carnival halted new sailings in March, the novel coronavirus spread to over 1,000 passengers and crew members on Carnival-owned ships like the Diamond Princess, Ruby Princess, and Costa Luminosa. The company was in some cases criticized for the way its ships handled the virus, but Carnival’s CEO, Arnold Donald, has argued that the company has consistently followed guidelines established by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And when cruises resume once again, they may look starkly different than before. Carnival is considering temporarily limiting the number of passengers by limiting certain cabins on its ships when they begin sailing again, two sources close to the matter told Business Insider in April.

Two possibilities include allowing passengers to only book cabins with access to fresh air or making sure there are empty cabins between occupied ones, sources said, in addition to safety measures already announced like temperature checks prior to boarding.

Mark Matousek contributed to this report. 

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