All aboard! Well, maybe not yet, but soon.
The cruise industry was one of the first and hardest hit when COVID-19 hit America. Passengers were stranded on vessels and outbreaks became frequent. For months, major cruise lines have sat dormant, waiting for Americans to get a hold on the virus.
Experts said we're not there yet, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it's willing to let ships set sail with the right precautions.
"This is very good news," said travel agent and cruise expert Chuck Flagg. "I am cautiously optimistic for the cruises to start."
Workers will be tested, and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before the cruise. There will also be a reduced capacity on the ship.
Passengers will be screened before they embark and the cruise can be no longer than seven days.
"I think you're going to see a lot of people booking suites and balconies," Flagg said. "That way they at least have access to fresh air. That's going to be the biggest change. But as far as life on board, I think it's going to be like going shopping. You're going to wear your mask. You're going to wash your hands often. You're going to keep socially distant."
A restart is good news for the city of Galveston. It's a drive market that specializes in short cruises.
Flagg said as soon as cruise lines are given the green light, go ahead and jump on the opportunity and follow this advice: "Book with a travel agent. Book a refundable deposit. Book out as far out as you can," he said.
Experts said cruises could start anywhere between six weeks to two months. "Test" trips will be done to make sure the process is smooth and emergency plans are in place and effective.