SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Scores of cruise ships may soon be on their way to the Port of San Diego. Thursday, the CDC gave the green light for cruise travel in American waters for fully vaccinated guests as early as mid-July.
"That's huge," Kahala Travel owner Joyce Dentt said.
"I think passengers are getting more excited and also not so fearful of traveling."
Dentt said it is a long time coming. Last year, the pandemic forced her company to make a lot of cancellations.
"It's pretty sad because they're getting excited, they're getting ready to go, and then we get the note, and they're like, 'Oh my goodness.'"
This week, the CDC made five important updates to its cruise operations guidelines. They are as follows:
- Beginning July, ships can sail with passengers if 98% of the crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
- The CDC would review simulated voyages in five days instead of the typical 60-day wait.
- Passengers can take a 20-minute rapid antigen test instead of a 48-hour PCR test.
- Cruise ship operators may design a multi-port trip as long as all port authorities sign an agreement.
- For passengers who contract COVID-19, they may quarantine at home or in a hotel.
Dentt says this news is already causing a surge in cruise travelers.
"There's so much pent-up demand," Dentt said.
Demand goes far beyond travelers inside the cruise ships. According to the Port of San Diego, every voyage that begins and ends in San Diego has a regional impact of around $2 million. Each ship that makes just one stop in San Diego generates a $600 thousand impact.
Dentt hopes as more people get vaccinated, and we get closer to herd immunity, people can shift their focus to leisurely travel.
"People are excited to get going and seem to be ready to go," Dentt said.