TAMPA, Fla. — Cruise lines have been one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic.

And in the Bay area, as well as across Florida, cruises bring a lot of tourists and money.

What You Need To Know

  • Cruise line officials optimistic to sail again soon

  • Bay area travel agent reports booking demand is increasing

  • CORONAVRIUS: Latest information

Now the industry is hoping it can start sailing again soon and a Bay area travel agent says he's seeing demand pick up.

It's been more than six months since we've seen a cruise ship sail out of Port Tampa Bay.

The Centers for Disease Control no sail order currently bans cruising until October 31. According to the CDC, between March and July, nearly 3,000 people were infected with Covid-19 or Covid-like illnesses on cruise ships. 

Now cruise lines are trying to convince the CDC that they can sail safely during the pandemic.

Cruise lines are hoping they can start sailing again in November.

Earlier this week, the Cruise Lines International Association sent the CDC its proposed new health regulations.

Those include:

  • Covid-19 testing for all guests prior to embarkation.
  • Universal mask wearing and social distancing.
  • Increasing fresh air into ventilation systems.

If someone tests positive while on the ship, they'll disembark as soon as possible.

Kenny Wong, president of Atlantis International Travel in St. Petersburg, said he has booked 20 cabins in the past couple of weeks for people who want to cruise next year and beyond.

He said cruising is part of his client's lifestyle and they miss it. Wong added people who want the best prices should plan their cruise right away.

“Right now is the best time to book your vacation or your cruise,” Wong said. “Several reasons, one you can pick whatever cabin that you wanted. At the lowest price right now because everything is inexpensive and you're price protected too."

Wong said as long as cruise lines are offering price protection, passengers can always cancel their trip and get a full refund.

He also said some cruise lines that sail out of Florida are accepting reservations for November and December.

“The most important thing I think, for my clients, is that they have something to look forward to because travel is part of their lifestyle."

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