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Port of San Diego says 'too soon' to know when cruises will return

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Posted at 2:57 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 20:37:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — While the CDC has issued guidance for the cruise ship industry to reopen during the pandemic, the Port of San Diego says it's too soon to tell when the industry would restart locally.

Friday, the CDC urged a "phased approach" to reopening the industry that has been largely shuttered since April following a no-sail order due to the pandemic. The agency says cruise lines will need to test safety protocols via mock voyages with volunteers before they can host passengers.

Still, the order was the first movement on cruise ships since the CDC issued its no-sail order in March to help stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Adam Deaton, Port of San Diego cruise business representative, told ABC 10News that the port will have to coordinate with cruise companies on what their next steps will be.

"It is too soon to say how soon sailing could resume in San Diego. Our next steps will be to coordinate with Holland America and Carnival on their plans, as they are the first few cruises on our schedule. Currently, our first scheduled cruise is Dec. 19 with Holland America’s Koningsdam. If any cruise lines request to conduct test sailings in San Diego, we will coordinate with all relevant federal, state and local agencies," Deaton said.

RELATED: CDC offers framework for cruise lines to start sailing again

According to the Port of San Diego, 70 cruises have been canceled during the 2020-21 season. There are currently 77 calls still on schedule for the port. The loss has taken $100 million in economic activity from the San Diego economy.

The CDC says its guidance applies to ships that can carry at least 250 passengers in U.S. waters and operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine, and isolation, as well as social distancing for passengers and crew members.

Jeff Spring, a spokesman for the Auto Club, said demand for cruises in 2021 is high, given cash incentives from the cruise lines and more flexible cancellation policies.