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Carnival cancels all cruises through January, return will focus on 2 Florida ports

Two Carnival Cruise Line ships will be returning to Florida soon as part of the company's plan to meet the CDC's new guidelines for sailing during the pandemic.

WASHINGTON — Carnival Cruise Line has decided to cancel more U.S. cruises scheduled for the first part of 2021, as the company works toward resuming operations amid the coronavirus pandemic

The company announced Wednesday it has canceled all trips from U.S. ports through Jan. 31, all sailings from Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Mobile, New Orleans and San Diego through Feb. 28; and all Carnival Legend sailings out of Tampa through March 26. 

Carnival confirmed it will focus initially on Miami and Port Canaveral, followed by Galveston, in its phased-in approach to resume guest operations. As part of the plan, the Carnival Horizon will arrive in Miami this week, and the Carnival Breeze will be the next ship back to the U.S. 

The cruise line industry has been essentially shut down since mid-March when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered cruise ships to stop sailing to U.S. ports after several outbreaks convinced officials that the vessels were potential cauldrons of infection. After being renewed several times the most recent order expired in October, with the new guidelines effectively bringing the no-sail order to an end. 

The CDC's new cruising guidelines say that in order to resume carrying passengers, the companies have to demonstrate they have procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew. They will have to build test labs on all ships and make their own arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers on shore, if needed. Before being allowed to sail, they will have to conduct mock voyages with volunteers playing passengers who get sick, the CDC said.

Cruise Lines International Association — which includes cruise giants Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean — said earlier this month that its members had voluntarily opted to maintain the current suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through the end of the year. 

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“We are committed to meeting the CDC requirements and keeping our guests and business partners informed of our progress,” Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement posted online. “The entire Carnival team appreciates the great support of our guests, travel advisors and business partners, and local officials in our homeports and destinations.”

The new guidelines come as coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. and around the world with colder weather arriving and more people clustering together indoors.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.