Officials Project That Port Canaveral Is In A Good Position And Will Slowly Bounce Back After Closure
According to a recent piece in the Orlando Sentinel, Port Canaveral officials expect “the public to be timid” at first about setting sail on a cruise again with shorter sailings being integral to restoring faith. However, it is expected that Port Canaveral will bounce back after the COVID-19 closure. Though the same officials warned that it will take some time.
John Murray, CEO of Port Canaveral spoke during a commission meeting on Wednesday projecting that cruise lines (which have now pushed their sailing dates back until at least late June) will need to rely on 3 or 4-night sailings to get cruisers on ships again.
“I think when it ramps up, there’s a credibility issue that’s going to have to be overcome,” Murray said. In making this argument, Murray cited incidents during the COVID-19 shutdown when longer sailings were told to remain at sea due to having infected passengers on board. He repeated, “I think that’s going to drive the industry to dominate on three- and four-day cruises just to get started.”
Murray went on to cite this as a positive saying that he thought this put Port Canaveral in a favorable position, Not only does the terminal offer regular short sailings like Disney Cruise Line’s 3 and 4-night sailings to the Bahamas but also 60% of cruise passengers arrive at the terminal by car. Less reliance on air travel eliminated yet another barrier to cruising.
“People are going to need to develop that comfort factor, that ‘I’m getting on a ship on a Friday, back on Monday. I didn’t get sick. I feel good. That was fun. I want to do it again,’” Murray said. “It’s almost taking the industry back to their roots, and I think that’s where it’s going to start.”
Murray also cites the cruise line’s private islands as a positive. Because as the Sentinel says, most of Florida’s ports are within striking distance of the various cruise lines private islands in the Bahamas it means that extra safeguards can be put in to place.
“The private islands are basically secured by them. They can be isolated by them. They can maintain certain safety standards, protocols, etc. at the islands that you don’t have at some public berth somewhere,” Murray said.
Another possibility is that Port Canaveral will see an uptake in attendance due to the fact that guests are reluctant to take longer voyages including those in Alaska and Europe.
During the meeting, a financial report was also given for the port spanning from October 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020. Though the port has been closed since mid-March and 51 staff members furloughed, the Port is still charging tariffs that use the terminals to dock for maintenance, re-supplying etc. A strong Fall 2021 and factors like tariffs ensured that the port still reported revenue of $545.5 million which is up 2 million during the same period last year.
As of going to print Disney Cruise Line sailings are cancelled until Mid-June. However, sailings can currently be booked through until the end of Summer 2021. Interaries aboard the Disney Dream are a great starting point for those looking for short sailings as the ship offers 3 and 4-night options that include stops in Nassau and Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay. To get your FREE, no-obligation quote simply fill out our form below!
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Source: Orlando Sentinel