CDC impacting cruise industry, says Springfield travel agent

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Carnival Cruise Line says it just had its best booking week in company history. The cruise industry’s recent growth doesn’t stop there. According to AAA, more than 58 million Americans plan to take a cruise in the next two years. AAA says cruise bookings in March were double what they were last year.

Things are looking up for the industry after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped its COVID-19 travel warning for cruise ships. The announcement certainly pleased some Springfield residents.

Sandra Holtcamp of Sunnyland Travel Center says she just booked an Alaskan cruise with her husband Leslie.

“I think it’s really good that [the CDC removed its warning] because I’ve been waiting a few years to get on a cruise ship again,” Sandra said. It was probably necessary at the time, but I think things are opening up. It’s time for them to start selling again and for people to start going on vacation again.

The Holtcamps are preparing for their fifth cruise. They tell OzarksFirst that they have been waiting for the cruise ships to return for two years.

“We’re at the age where we have to fill our travel bucket list,” Sandra said. “It set us back a few years. We are excited to be back in travel mode.

Sandra says that even though the CDC removed their warning, there are still guidelines they will need to follow to board the ship.

“You need to be fully vaccinated,” Sandra said. “You have to test two days before the ship leaves. I can live with that if I can just go. The CDC redid things allowed the ships to start moving again. »

The Sunnyland Travel Center told OzarksFirst that in the past two weeks, some cruise lines have already sold out at least two months before they sail.

Owner Frederick Harris said that prior to the CDC’s announcement, he received numerous calls about their travel warning. Now that it’s been removed and the CDC only recommends people wear a mask on board, Harris says he thinks the cruise industry will recover.

“Finally, we can finally get the government out of the way and people can make a good decision for themselves when it’s time to travel,” Harris said. ” We are pleased [the CDC] lifted this restriction.

Almost all major cruise lines require a passenger to be vaccinated before boarding. Still, Harris tells OzarksFirst he can see the broader economy benefiting from the lack of a cruise travel warning.

“You think people have to travel to get to the starting location and therefore all the restaurants along the way, hotels, mom and pops,” Harris said. “It not only helps the cruise industry, but the travel industry as a whole. People waited. Some people have been waiting a very long time.

Harris says waiting for the cruises to return has been a frustrating situation for everyone involved.

“The world has been turned upside down and on its head,” Harris said. “Honestly, people were ready to go and willing to go much sooner than the restrictions were lifted. It’s just one more step. I hope this is the final step in getting things back to normal and people are good to go.

Harris encourages anyone looking to cruise this summer or fall to start planning as soon as possible.

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