Cruise ship departs Jacksonville after nearly two years

Ship departs Jacksonville

The first major cruise line will depart from Jaxport after nearly two years.

News4Jax reporter Marilyn Parker spoke with a woman who was on one of the last cruises out of Florida in 2020, and she is happy to hear the industry is getting back on its feet.

When we last spoke to Sondra Deaconescu she and her husband were stuck on a cruise ship due to COVID-19.

“During that week is when everything fell apart. So it was like coming back to a different world,” said Deaconescu.

They didn’t cruise again until last November.

The industry suspended operations for COVID-19 and experienced many changes. Two years later, the first major cruise ship is set to leave from Jaxport.

When asked if she will be leaving out of Jacksonville for a cruise, Deaconescu says yes.

“Oh, yes. We’re already talking about it. Everybody has to make their own decision. But for us, it just makes sense. Then it’s the only place that we’ve gone where we knew everyone had been vaccinated and tested. So we felt perfectly safe to get on the ship,” said Deaconescu.

Carnival Spirit docked at Dames Point this weekend and crew members were spotted onboard.

We spoke with a travel agent who says this ship leaving Jaxport shows how the industry is recovering.

“Cruising seems like the last part of the travel industry that’s kind of getting back out there and getting on the water,” said Margie Jordan of Travel Service. “It’s created a lot of demand for cruises, quite honestly, we are getting calls for people who are just trying to figure it out.”

Carnival said fully vaccinated guests must show proof of negative tests. Carnival does have vaccination exemptions for sailing – however. They must test negative 24 hours before sailing. Unvaccinated guests also must have travel insurance.

Deaconescu said she’s confident in the steps cruise lines have taken.

“It’s great to see everything returning to normal,” said Deaconescu.

Bringing major cruises back to this port gives people another option to travel and increase revenue in Jacksonville.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad