PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Port Canaveral officials commissioned and christened their newest firefighting vessel Wednesday in preparation for a summer return to cruising.
The hi-tech Fireboat-2′s firefighting capabilities include dry chemicals to support liquefied natural gas-powered cruise ships like the Carnival “Mardi Gras.”
If it departs as scheduled next month, the Mardi Gras will become the first cruise ship of any kind to leave Port Canaveral with paying passengers in more than a year.
Fireboat-2 will be used to support all of the port’s cruise activity, which has yet to resume.
Disney postponed a trial voyage from Port Canaveral originally scheduled for June 29. However, Royal Caribbean still has a simulated cruise scheduled for its “Allure of the Seas” on July 27.
Port Canaveral CEO Captain John Murray says there will be more to follow.
“There are multiple simulated cruises scheduled,” Murray says. “I didn’t go through those at the commission meeting because they’re all subject to change at the last minute.”
Murray says cruise lines are still working to navigate the requirements for “simulated” versus revenue voyages.
“You know the pain that this port and the community has been undergoing for the last year,” Murray says. “While for many areas, COVID is over and going back to business, we’re still hurting here...our community is hurting here and this is very important to get things up and running again.”
Capt. Murray notes that another reason Port Canaveral’s return to cruising has lagged behind other ports is that many families sail from there with children, which has to be taken into consideration.
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