Latest news updates with developments from major cruise lines
We are off to the races, we've had a surprisingly busy week of cruise news and meetings! We’ve got all the updates from some of the major cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Line and their requirements, Royal Caribbean with the next wave of ships that are restarting, as well as Norwegian Cruise Line & MSC also restarting their U.S. operations.
Norwegian Cruise Line Updates
It was a huge day for Norwegian Cruise Line with the restart of its operations in the U.S. for over 500 days! I began my international hospitality industry career with NCL and these unforeseen circumstances are something that I never could have imagined. I am ecstatic to announce that Norwegian is set to begin cruising out of the Port of Seattle, Washington which also restarts their long-awaited Alaska season.
Norwegian Encore is the newest ship in the fleet that will begin sailing a seven-day voyage including stops at Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. Cruises will continue through October 16.
The Norwegian Encore, however, was not the first to commence sailing. The Norwegian Jade restarted operations when she departed out of Piraeus, Greece on July 25, 2021, which is the vessel's homeport for sailing the Greek Isles.
I am also delighted to announce that in the Norwegian Gem will be the next to restart cruises on August 15 out of Miami, Florida.
Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to take the straightforward and simple approach by having all crew members and all guests fully vaccinated- no exemptions.
All 28 cruise ships across the three brands are expected to be back sailing by April 1, 2022. 75% of the fleet is to be operating by the end of this year.
Overall, cruise bookings are progressing well. Despite reduced marketing, 2022 bookings are looking stronger than those in 2019. This also includes bookings using future cruise credits due to previous cancellations. Ticket sales were $1.4 billion as of June 30, 2021.
Carnival Cruise Line Updates Protocols
Carnival Cruise Line restarted operations with five vessels- including the new Mardi Gras and has made changes to its protocols across all cruise ships
. As of August 7, all guests will be required to wear a face mask in specific busy indoor areas. Guests can continue to not wear a mask outdoors. This policy will continue through October 31, 2021.
Carnival is also implementing a new pre-testing requirement effective from August 14, 2021 - to October 31. This requires guests who are fully vaccinated to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within a three-day time period before embarkation. No testing will be offered in the terminal, as this is a service some other cruise lines are offering.
All changes are all detailed on carnival cruise line’s Have Fun Be Safe health measures, and details could change in the future as the situation remains fluid. Several itinerary changes have already occurred due to ports of call having different restrictions. The Cayman Islands is one of the countries not allowing cruise ships to visit until early 2022.
More Royal Caribbean Ships to Restart
Royal Caribbean's entire fleet will be back in service by Spring 2022, including from the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Asia. Seven vessels have already resumed operations and the cruise line has already announced restart dates for August.
Here is a look at Royal Caribbean ships restart itinerary from the month of September to Spring:
Oasis of the Seas – 7-night Bahamas cruises from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, starting Sept. 5; and 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami, beginning November
Liberty of the Seas – 7-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston, Texas, starting Oct. 3
Serenade of the Seas – 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa, Florida, starting Oct. 16; and 7-night Caribbean itineraries, beginning December
Explorer of the Seas – 7-night Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting Nov. 7
Navigator of the Seas – 3-, 4- and 5-night Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico cruises from Los Angeles, beginning Nov. 19
Grandeur of the Seas – 7- and 14-night Southern Caribbean sailings from Bridgetown, Barbados, starting Dec. 5
Ovation of the Seas – 2- to 10-night domestic itineraries in Australia from Sydney, beginning Dec. 13
Brilliance of the Seas – 4- and 5-night Bahamas and Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa, starting Dec. 16
Enchantment of the Seas – 8-night Bahamas sailings, and select 12-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean from Baltimore, starting Dec. 23
Vision of the Seas – 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, beginning Jan. 24, 2022
Voyager of the Seas – 7- and 9-night cruises in Northern Europe from Barcelona, Spain, starting April 15, 2022
Radiance of the Seas – 7-night Alaska sailings from Vancouver, Canada, beginning April 29, 2022
Rhapsody of the Seas – 7-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries, sailing from Rome starting May 23, 2022
MSC Cruises Restarts Sailings in the U.S.
MSC Cruises has been back in service in Europe for several months already, and they are now able to focus on departures from the United States. The MSC Merviglia was the first in the fleet to resume sailings from the United States on August 2, 2021.
MSC Merviglia has been sailing three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas, including a call to MSC’s own private island of Ocean Cay.
As of September 18, 2021, the ship will also sail seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises. The week-long sailings include two separate calls at the cruise line’s private island, Nassau in the Bahamas, and Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
MSC’s Cruises guest sailing from the United States will be for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests who will have more restrictions during voyages. The cruise line will offer testing at embarkation and also periodic testing of the crew.
MSC’s health and safety program have provided a range of protocols in place to keep all guest safe.
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