Carnival Cruises to Resume in Florida and Texas From August Despite Congressional Investigation Into COVID-19 Outbreaks

Carnival Corporation, which is under investigation by Congress for allegedly "ignoring the public health threat posed by coronavirus" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is resuming some of its cruises, which were canceled following an outbreak of cases aboard several of its ships.

Carnival Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, will begin a phased reopening of its North American cruises on August 1 across eight ships from Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida as well as in Galveston, Texas.

Paused operations in all other North American and Australian markets have been extended through August 31, the company said in a statement on Monday. Costa Cruises, another branch of Carnival Corporation, also announced on Monday the further suspension of its cruises through June 30.

Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure announced its investigation into Carnival Corporation in a letter to the company's chief executive officer, Arnold Donald.

The letter from the chairman of the committee, Peter DeFazio, states that allegations made in a report by Bloomberg "suggest that officials at Carnival were aware of the threats to some of its ships and did not take appropriate actions, which may have led to greater infections and the spread of the disease."

DeFazio also noted in the letter to Donald that it seems as though Carnival is "ignoring the public health threat posed by coronavirus to potential future passengers and crew."

"As of April 23, 2020, none of the front facing web-pages from any of Carnival's nine affiliated cruise lines...mentioned a single word about COVID-19, coronavirus, or the precautions these cruise lines intend to take once the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] lifts its 'No Sail Order' for cruise lines.

"Instead, these sites are advertising various images of couples dining and dancing, musicians entertaining, and lines of children holding hands and playing," DeFazio wrote in the letter.

The committee asked for the disclosure of all "the information Carnival Corporation cruise lines had, and when, regarding potential infections, public health implications, and possible exposure of its passengers and crew to COVID-19, as well as the decisions made by Carnival Corporation and its various affiliated lines regarding the health and safety of their passengers and crew," the letter continued.

Carnival confirmed it will "fully cooperate" with the investigation. "Our goal is the same as the committee's goal: to protect the health, safety and well-being of our guests and crew, along with compliance and environmental protection," the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, all North American cruises with Carnival Cruise Line from June 27 to July 31 are canceled. But from August 1, cruises will resume from Galveston (aboard the Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista cruise ships), Miami (aboard the Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sensation) and Port Canaveral (aboard the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Elation).

Other canceled cruises include all Alaskan cruises from Seattle aboard the Carnival Spirit cruise ship, as well as the Vancouver to Honolulu cruise on September 25 and the voyage from Honolulu to Brisbane on October 6, both aboard the Carnival Spirit vessel.

All cruises in Australia from June 19 to August 31 operated on the Carnival Splendor are also canceled.

Guests affected by the latest cruise cancellations are being notified by email, with options for a combined future cruise credit and onboard credit package or a full refund, the cruise line confirmed.

"We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests," the company said in the statement.

"We will use this additional time to continue to engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve," it added.

"Costa Crociere [Costa Cruises] is taking steps to inform both travel agents and guests affected by the changes. They will be guaranteed a reprotection in accordance with the applicable legislation, which offers the greatest guarantee in this contingency situation," the company said in a statement on Monday.

The cruise industry was forced to halt operations earlier this year following an outbreak of infections on cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers.

In January, 6,000 passengers aboard the Costa Smeralda (a cruise ship from Costa Cruises) were quarantined at sea off the Italian port of Civitavecchia, about 44 miles northwest of Rome, after two passengers were suspected of infection.

In February, two vessels from Princess Cruises, another subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, also reported cases. The Grand Princess and Diamond Princess, which each carried around 3,000 passengers, were quarantined at sea while all passengers underwent health screenings before being allowed to disembark.

Last month, Princess Cruises extended its previously announced cancellation of all voyages to June 30. Other cancellations include all sailings aboard the Enchanted Princess in Europe through July 31, Sun Princess sailings from June to September 4, Diamond Princess sailings from May 11 to August 4 as well as selected Australia homeport cruises aboard the Sun Princess and Sapphire Princess departing from June 23 to September 3, the company confirmed.

In addition, Princess Cruises announced "modifications to the Alaska season, which includes the cancellation of all Princess Alaska Gulf cruise and cruise tours. The five wilderness lodges, trains and buses operated by Princess in Alaska will not open this summer. We will continue round-trip sailings from Seattle to Alaska on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess," the company confirmed in a statement last month.

Full details on all cruise cancellations and refunds can be seen at the Princess Cruises website.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3.5 million people across the globe. Over 251,700 have died, while more than 1.1 million have reportedly recovered from infection, as of Tuesday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Carnival cruise ship, Australia, May 2013
Passengers arrive at Sydney's Circular Quay to board the Carnival Spirit cruise ship for a Pacific cruise, on May 9, 2013. Getty Images

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates U.S. states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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U.S. states with the most coronavirus cases. Statista

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the U.S.

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases across the U.S. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

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  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
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  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
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  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
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  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.