Carnival announced on Monday, May 4, that they are resuming cruises soon, and although the world isn’t yet out of the woods when it comes to the coronavirus, they’re trying to get people sailing again.
It’s the first major cruise operator in North America to reopen after sailings came to a standstill.
You probably have some questions.
Carnival plans to start cruising again August 1.
The departure ports will be limited to Miami and Port Canaveral (FL) and Galveston, Texas. The first sailings on Aug. 1 are a 5-day Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Miami, $189/person ($37.80/night); and a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston, $309/person ($44.14/night).
In all, there are 24 Carnival cruises sailing in August, and 6 of them run between $100-$200/person.
In September, prices dip below $28/night.
September is the height of the hurricane season, so prices are already pretty cheap during this time of year for cruises, but Carnival is trying to make up for a lost spring break and early summer season by ramping up activity — jumping from 24 cruises in August to 66 in September. That’s still a long way from getting all 105 ships sailing.
Departure ports expand to include Long Beach, California; Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama.
The cheapest cruise of the summer season is a 4-night cruise leaving out of Long Beach on Sept. 6. At $109/person, that ends up being $27.25/night before taxes and fees. On its heels is a 7-day cruise out of Barbados on Sept. 11/18/25 for $199 — $28.43/night.
Even during the peak winter season, prices are less than $120/night.
For example, a Mexican Riviera cruise jumps from $329 per person on Dec. 5 to $839 on Dec. 26 — but even during the in-demand December week, prices are less than $120 per night, per person. That’s cheaper than many hotels.
These plans could change, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
Shortly after announcing the August 1 reopening, Carnival followed up with another statement saying that any reopening would happen in cooperation with government officials at the local, national, and international levels.
Carnival already has extended their reopening date a couple of times since the global coronavirus pandemic broke out.
If you’re considering a cruise, Vacation Protection is a must right now.
Carnival customers who had purchased cruises that were cancelled due to coronavirus (between March and Aug. 31) have been offered a full refund, or 100% credit toward a future cruise — plus an additional $300-$600 per cabin.
While customers would likely be offered a similar deal should additional cruises be cancelled, there’s no real provision for customers who want to cancel their cruise because they feel uncomfortable in light of COVID-19 developments.
The most protection Carnival offers for these customers comes in the form of Vacation Protection, which starts at $49, and guarantees at least a 75% refund credit towards a future cruise. Without that, you’re sunk.
The cruising experience could be very different for these first passengers.
Carnival has published a list of their increased sanitization and cleaning measures, including more access to hand-washing sinks and hand sanitizer stations, and “more frequent” sanitization of public areas and staterooms.
Staff will, “where possible,” serve people at previously self-serve stations. Prior to boarding, and while onboard, customers will be subject to enhanced health screening protocols such as thermal scans and temperature checks.
The experience could look very different, or not that different at all, depending on the specifics of how these measures play out specifically. Carnival said their policies are designed to be flexible.