When the industry eventually resumes cruises, Port Canaveral plans short breaks to gain popularity as “Orlando’s backyard port is in a good position to take advantage of that.”
According to port's CEO John Murray, cruise companies, which currently suspended passenger shipping operations through the end of June, would on 3- and 4-night roundtrips in order to get vacationers back on the vessels.
Citing accidents during the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that forced several brands to remain at sea, and not let passengers get home, Murray said that when it ramps up, there was a credibility issue that was going to have to be overcome. He added that was going to drive the cruise industry to dominate on short cruises (3- and 4-day long itineraries “just to get started.”
He added that would put Port Canaveral “in a good position,” citing its over 60% of homeporting passengers coming in by car, as opposed to PortMiami and Port Everglades that cater mainly to international travellers and relying on flights.
He pointed out that Florida’s ports are within striking distance of the various cruise lines’ private islands in the Bahamas, which are “the primary destination on short cruises.” As far as ensuring safeguards against the Coronavirus (COVID-19), those islands may be key.
Port Canaveral could benefit from the disruption of normal cruise ship summer plans to sail in Europe and Alaska. Canada has closed all of its ports until at least July 1, 2020, and there is no guaranteed opening date for ports in Europe amid the pandemic.
The limitations have added one ship to the ranks of Port Canaveral. Norwegian Sun, which was slated to head to Alaska, will instead remain sailing short cruises from the Port.
Murray shared he was in discussion with at least 2 other brands that currently don’t homeport in Port Canaveral to base at least one ship for 2020’s winter season, and possibly year-round. He didn't specify which, but that could be Celebrity, Holland America or Princess.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.