The president of Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise company, is turning up the volume on warnings that the company will move its ships out of the U.S.
With no end in sight to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's cruise industry shutdown, cruise companies say it’s a matter of survival to get business somewhere else.
Carnival Cruise Line has more ships based at Port Canaveral than any other cruise company, making its cancellation of all cruises at least through June 30 a big deal.
An even bigger deal is its threat to take its ships out of U.S. ports because of the CDC’s cruise industry shutdown. The cruise line’s president Christine Duffy suggested as much in an interview with sister station WESH.
"I don’t want to move Carnival cruise ships out of the U.S., but at some point, we also have to make sure we can sustain our business," Duffy said.
Other cruise lines are already doing this.
Carnival is keeping its newest ship, the 6,000-passenger Mardi Gras in Spain. It was intended to be based at Port Canaveral at the port’s newest terminal.
"The terminal was specially built to be able to accommodate that ship. I don’t want to bring her over until we can put guests on and sail our ship," Duffy said.
Carnival says it has laid off many workers and has seen its supply chain of warehouses and hotels in Florida do the same. All the while, the public can fly on airlines, go to theme parks and attend theaters.
"We don’t want to be treated any differently than any other part of travel, tourism or entertainment, and right now, we have been singled out," Duffy said.
Carnival has not set a date or made specific plans to remove its ships but says because it takes time to get back up and running, it is days away from missing the summer cruising season altogether and it cannot afford to do that.