Carnval's Sunshine was docked in Charleston for weeks following the industrywide shutdown in April

Charleston cruise ship critics announced they were joining forces with the Global Cruise Activist Network’s “Rethink Cruise Tourism” campaign last week. Most cruise lines remain halted, but a vaccine on the horizon could signal an end to the industry’s months-long shutdown. Things must be different after the pandemic, the residents who make up Charleston’s Communities for Cruise Control insist.

The campaign hopes to bring about change to the social, economic and environmental aspects of a responsible cruise industry before restarting the cruise ships sector after its pandemic pause.

“Cruise ships are proven to spread COVID-19,” said Carrie Agnew, executive director for Charleston Communities for Cruise Control. “They are responsible for spreading this disease and remain a threat to public health and safety. It is not safe to resume cruising during a global pandemic and any future infectious disease outbreaks.”

The announcement comes as the idle cruise industry works through initial phases of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control plan aimed at safely resuming cruises from the U.S. At this point, CDC says the risk of spreading the disease on cruise ships would still be “very high.”

Carnival Cruise Lines is the main cruise operator from downtown dock near the eastern end of Market Street. Currently, Carnival’s Charleston operations have been suspended through at least Feb. 28, 2021. Ports of call are also halted indefinitely, according to South Carolina Ports Authority.

The Global Cruise Activist Network released two videos, “RethinkBeforeRebook” and “RethinkBeforeReinfect,” as part of the campaign, along with a series of graphics and fact sheets to prove a vision of what the new normal of the cruise industry could be.

Global Cruise Activist Network

The graphics promote a rethinking of the way the system works, each one targeting a different part of the network.

The network also published “Principles for Responsible Cruise Tourism” in September, providing a roadmap for a transition to the socially and environmentally responsible future GCAN members are looking toward. It addresses a range of concerns, including labor, climate change, pollution, public health and more.