In a sign of things slowly returning to normal, two Carnival Cruise lines ships berthed in the Port of Galveston in Texas on Sunday.
The docks have remained quiet for more than a year after the entire cruise industry ground to a halt.
The Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista arrived around midday with officials from the port inviting the public to come and celebrate their return.
Cruise ships have berthed at the Port of Galveston for the first time in a yearInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Both of the ships has a special message decked out in lights
Carnival hopes to spur the CDC into action and relax the restrictions to allow cruising to begin
'We are SO excited to finally have our ships back home. We've been granted approval to allow the community public access to the dock in between cruise Terminal 1 and 2 for this special event,' a Facebook post by the Port of Galveston read.
The ships were last in port in April 2020 until the pandemic brought cruises to a halt.
'Suspension of cruising from Galveston has resulted in huge losses for the Texas economy and families who rely on this industry. Based on historical economic impact annual statistics, losses are estimated at $1.2 billion in direct spending, 23,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in wages statewide,' wrote Rodger Rees, Port of Galveston CEO earlier this month.
Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista arrived in the Texas port on Sunday
Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The ships are the first to stay in Texas' only cruise terminal since late April 2020
The liners are still not allowed to pick up passengers with cruises still limited by federal health orders preventing sailing during the coronavirus pandemic
Rees detailed how the port's cruise terminal has been upgraded in order to meet CDC guidelines investing '$100,000 in improvements intended to reduce the spread of the virus.'
Both the Breeze and Vista are now to undergo maintenance while they wait at the port for further guidance from the CDC.
'Their intentions are to stay here, crew up, and do some work on the ships,' Rees told KTRK. 'So they'll be here when it's time to start cruising, and we're hoping that it's quick.'
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced (above) at the Port of Miami earlier this month he was suing to demand cruise ships be allowed to resume sailing immediately
In April, Rees joined with the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in an open letter for the CDC to allow cruising to begin in July.
'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,' the letter read.
On Wednesday, the CDC said cruise ships could resume sailing from mid-summer if they can prove 98 percent of their crew and 95 percent of their passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The agency announced new requirements for getting the cruise industry back up and running by mid-July, one week after Alaska joined Florida's lawsuit