Get ready to get your cruise on.
The first cruise ship operating out of the Port of Palm Beach will set sail in July.
A representative for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line said Tuesday that the Grand Classica leaves July 2 from Port of Palm Beach en route to Freeport.
Cruise to Freeport is first ship to sail since March 2020.
“We of course, are enthusiastic about getting back to cruising,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines.
According to the State of Florida, a Federal Maritime Commission report in September 2020 estimated that during the first 6 months of the pandemic, losses in Florida due to the cruise industry shutdown totaled $3.2 billion in economic activity.
Meanwhile, the cruise industry must still fulfill rules established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before it can resume sailing from U.S. waters.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in Tampa sent lawyers for the state of Florida and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mediation. This after Gov. Ron DeSantis sued the federal agency last month arguing that its rules unfairly target the cruise industry and asking the court to declare its framework to restart cruises unlawful by issuing a preliminary injunction.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday of the Middle District of Florida is giving both sides until June 1 to mediate.
Most cruise companies are in the second phase of the conditional sail order after having successfully completed the first phase earlier this year by increasing COVID-19 testing capacity on their ships and reporting weekly crew member test results to the agency.
In the second phase, companies are negotiating agreements with ports and local health authorities in the U.S. cities they plan to visit when cruises resume to avoid ships getting stranded at sea if there is an outbreak.