Port Canaveral’s worst-case scenario for the resumption of cruising has a limited number of ships setting sail in July, according to comments from the port’s CEO.
Speaking at a port authority meeting, CEO Captain John Murray said that, based on the port’s own estimates, each cruise line will have at least one ship sailing by July, and that each ship will be operating at half capacity.
He said, “We have a new administration. The cruise lines themselves have kicked everything down the road for three months already, or at least through March and April. The reality given the pandemic right now, until those numbers start coming down, we just don’t see that this industry is going to get any attention that it needs to get restarted.”
Port Canaveral’s updated projections have been made based on a worst-case scenario and there is data that suggests ships may start sailing before July.
However, cruise lines need to comply with the US Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) ‘Framework for Conditional Sailing,’ but Captain Murray suggested that the CDC has no interest in working with the cruise industry until numbers in the country improve: “The CDC’s motivation right now to put the cruise lines back on the water is not there, and probably won’t be there for the next three months,” he said.
“So rather than look at this entire operation and say, ‘Well, let’s just kick the can to April and then we’ll look at it again,’ it doesn’t make any sense to keep coming back to you guys with a rosy picture that we’re going to start in April or May and then say, ‘Whoop, that didn’t happen.’ So we took the very hard approach of, like I say, ripping off the Band-Aid, and making it a bad situation for the port just to show you that we have a plan to get through this if it does go as far as the fourth quarter.”
Port Canaveral Chief Financial Officer Michael Poole is projecting $32.59 million in operating revenue and a $43.12 million loss for the port in the current budget year that ends September 30.
“We just want to put something in front of you that can show you as a board that we’re going to be OK to get through this even if it doesn’t start before July, and I’m hopeful and optimistic and all that good stuff that we do get started before then.”