Cruises Return But Still Months Until All Ships Are Back
The process of cruises returning is like nothing the industry has seen before. There is no precedent. That makes it more difficult to understand exactly how it will play out.
The process has been slow so far with the CDC, but it is starting to ramp up more quickly. Already, several major lines including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival have officially returned to sailing, with many more scheduled in the weeks and months ahead.
But the full return of ships will take many more months to play out â even if all goes well. Carnival has said that it plans to have 15 ships sailing by the end of October.
All of this, of course, is dependent that a rise in virus cases doesnât impact the return and vaccines continue to work against the virus.
Keep in mind that this situation is truly unprecedented. There is simply no way to know exactly when cruises return until the ship leaves the dock with passengers.
Below are the latest return dates for U.S. sailings, based on currently scheduled cruises.
Where Are The Cruise Ship Ports In Florida Located
There are four major cruise ports in Florida.
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New Vacation Operation Unit
In February 2009, Tom McAlpin left the Disney Cruise Line presidency and was replaced by Karl Holz as president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. In early 2009, Disney and Canaveral Port Authority extended their agreement to 2022 with expansion to the terminal to handle the new class of ships. A re-posting of the Disney Magic to Europe in 2010 adding DCL’s first North European cruises with Mediterranean cruises.
With the arrival of Disney Dream in 2011, Disney Wonder was relocated to Los Angeles. With the arrival of Disney Fantasy in 2012, Disney Magic was relocated to New York City in May 2012 for only the Summer season, before relocating to Galveston, Texas.
In late 2012, Disney Wonder began sailing cruises out of Miami, Florida, respectively. In 2013, the Disney Magic relocated to Barcelona, Spain and the Disney Wonder relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia. for the summer season. In Autumn 2013, the Magic and the Wonder returned to the United States but switched home ports, with the Magic leaving out of Miami and the Wonder leaving out of Galveston. In January 2014, the Wonder took over for the Magic in Miami and the Magic joined the Dream and Fantasy in Port Canaveral, placing all four ships in the state of Florida for the first time. Since then, the Magic and the Wonder have once again switched places.
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Cruise Lines To Sail From Florida With More Than 12 Ships In 2 Months But Port Canaveral Getting Late Start
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Business isnt booming yet for cruise lines out of Florida, but its not dead silent either like it has been for the last 15 months.
This past Saturday marked a milestone in the cruise industry as Celebrity Edge sailed from Port Everglades to mark the first revenue sailing of any major cruise line from a U.S. port since March 2020.
Its the first domino of a lineup set to follow suit in the next two months out of the states big three embarkation points PortMiami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades as at least another dozen vessels from the likes of Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and possibly Disney Cruise Line get underway.
The early action, though is mainly from South Florida while Port Canaverals first revenue sailing isnt until July 31 when Carnivals new ship Mardi Gras is set to debut.
The children are an issue, said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray at a port commission meeting Wednesday. Were a family port and thats one of the reasons were probably starting a little bit later than the other ports, because we are so family-oriented. Its going to be very difficult for some of our brands here to operate under a fully vaccinated ship.
More Cruise Ships Sail Out Of Port Canaveral Over The Weekend
The CDC issued the guidance despite every passenger 12+ being required to be vaccinated.
In a statement on December 30, Richard Fain wrote they didnt like to see even one case, but their experience was “a fraction of the comparable statistics of virtually any other comparable location or industry.”
RCI said that since restarting in the summer, a total of 1700 of its 1,1 million passengers had tested COVID-positive, with 41 of them hospitalized and none with the Omicron variant.
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Hotel Closest To The Port
If the distance to the port is your No. 1 concern, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral, Florida, is your best bet. Its about three miles, or a six-minute drive, from Norwegians cruise terminal.
Rooms have a microwave and a fridge. Book a cruise parking and shuttle package so you can leave your vehicle at the hotel during your voyage. Double rooms feature two queen beds a bonus over hotels that only offer double beds, a less-than-family-friendly arrangement.
The hotel also offers a free hot breakfast , Wi-Fi, cookies, coffee and tea.
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New Services Venues And Trademarked Ship Names
In January 2017 were trademarked the ship names Valhalla of the Seas, Sunrise of the Seas, Icon of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas. On September 15, 2014, RCCL trademarked the ship names Spectrum of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Emblem of the Seas, Joy of the Seas, Apex of the Seas. In September 2015 were abandoned the trademarks Emblem of the Seas, Passion of the Seas, Pulse of the Seas, Apex of the Seas, Joy of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas. Other currently trademarked by Royal Caribbean ship names include Gallant of the Seas, Phenom of the Seas, Valhalla of the Seas, Sunrise of the Seas.
In September 2018 were trademarked 3 ship names Eon of the Seas, Gallant of the Seas, Phenom of the Seas. In October was trademarked Metropolis of the Seas.
In September 2018 was trademarked the Oasis-Class ships smokestack area . The design features a crown-shaped bottom section with 2 slanted funnels above. In October 2018 was trademarked ships oblong-shaped stern. The design features AquaTheater Suites , Ultimate Abyss and RCCLs logo. In December 2018 was trademarked the name Fly Rider .
In October 2019, RCI partnered with Funky Buddha Brewery for an exclusive beer label available only on CocoCay Island. The private beer label was trademarked on July 8, 2019. The craft beer is a tropical ale packaged in 12-oz cans and is offered in different labels themed after CocoCays areas.
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Ncl Out Of Miami And Alaska
Norwegian Cruise Line has already released details on restarting operations to Alaska and out of five US ports through the fall. The cruise line has now released further details on a restart from the US in August with the newest ship in the fleet sailing to Alaska and cruises restarting from Miami.
Norwegian Gem will kickstart cruises out of PortMiami on August 15, 2021. The ship will sail seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean and a four-day voyage to the Bahamas in November.
Norwegian Encore, which is currently the newest and largest ship in the fleet, will replace the Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. The Breakaway-plus class vessel will replace the previously announced cruises for Norwegian Bliss from Seattle, Washington, starting on August 7, 2021.
Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, said. With these additional itineraries, were providing travelers with more opportunities to set sail from some of their favorite homeports and to some of their preferred destinations. He continued to say, We are very excited to sail in the U.S. again, and to sail first with our latest beautiful ship Norwegian Encore. Were able to reintroduce her to our guests and invite them to experience her world-class offerings, as she makes her debut in Seattle and Alaska.
Disney Signature Experiences Unit
Soon after a March 2018 conglomerate wide reorganization that formed Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment division, Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations was renamed Disney Signature Experiences along with a new president, Jeff Vahle.
Disney Cruise Line purchased in early March 2019 another Bahamas destination, Lighthouse Point property on the island of Eleuthera from the Bahamas Government. The cruise line was looking for another Bahamas location since the announcement of the third ship expansion in 2016.
In February 2020, Disney Wonder moved its home port to New Orleans. From March 14 until July 2021, Disney Cruise Line ships suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sailings resumed in the form of “Staycation Cruises”, closed loop cruises of 2 to 4 nights from the United Kingdom ports of Liverpool, Southampton, Newcastle, and Tilbury for London.
The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy entered service in January 2011 and March 2012, respectively. These ships were built at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. These new 129,690-ton ships are 339.5 m long and 36.8 m wide. They are two decks taller than the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder and have 1,250 staterooms each. The Disney Dream was the first ship to have a water coaster.
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Port Canaveral Ceo Not Worried About Future Cruise Shutdown
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. â A few days into 2022, Captain John Murrayâs prediction for the new year is that the cruise industry wonât see another mass shutdown, like the one that dominated the majority of the pandemic so far.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday morning, the CEO of the Port Canaveral Port Authority said things are trending in the right direction for the port and he didnât see the pandemic stopping that.
What You Need To Know
- The current surge of cases hasnât halted cruise operations from Port Canaveral.
- Murray said the next big influx of passengers will come over the spring break period.
- The CDCâs Conditional Sailing Order is set to expire on January 15, 2022.
âIf you were out here in the last couple of weekends, our cruising numbers were very strong through the holidays,â Murray said. âYou know, the average traveler knows that if you’re on a cruise ship, they do their investigation ahead of time and you’re safer probably on a cruise ship than you are in a grocery store.â
Murray said that because all passengers and crew need to be vaccinated ahead of each departure, any potential breakthrough infection wonât be as potent.
âThe cruise lines have the protocols in place as do we at the ports to manage these. We’ve done this from the very beginning, we said that, you know his conditions changed weâd modify,â Murray said.
Carnival Cruise Terminal 3
In late-April 2017 at Port Canaveral started construction works of a new cruise terminal. The facility is on the site of “Cruise Terminal 3” , west of Jetty Park and east of The Cove . On June 7, 2017, engineering and design works for the new terminal were officially approved. Canaveral Port Authority Commissioners approved USD 1,2 million funding for CH2M Engineering’s project management contract. This was the first phase of the 2-year work plan to construct a modern facility with capacity to serve vessels up to 8,000 passengers. At the new passenger terminal can berth even the world’s largest cruise vessels of RCI’s Oasis-class. CH2M Engineering provided engineering, support services and waterside design for the new Terminal 3.
The project’s budget is USD 163 million , of which US$50M were contributed by Carnival Corporation. Ranked the USA’s largest single building project, it included demolition of port’s oldest terminal, construction of a brand new 2-story building , upgrading the existing berth and building a new parking garage, roadway and utility improvements. This 20-months long, multi-phased project included 5 separate contracts. Demolition works of the existing Terminal 3 building started in April 2018, at the cost of USD 210,000.
Construction works officially started on March 18, 2019, and the Terminal was completed in September 2020. At the new CT3 terminal was homeported Carnival’s largest vessel . The new liner is LNG-bunkered by a barge dockside.
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Getting To Port Canaveral By Air
International passengers have a good choice of airports within easy reach of Port Canaveral Cruise Port. Orlando International Airport is 45 miles away. Cruisers can book a shuttle bus or car rental with cruise parking to transport them easily to Port Canaveral cruise terminal in around 45 minutes.
Other airports serving Port Canaveral cruises include:
- Melbourne International Airport 34 miles south of Port Canaveral
- Sanford International Airport 61 miles north
- Daytona International Airport 75 miles north
- Tampa International Airport 135 miles west of Port Canaveral
- Fort Lauderdale Airport 204 miles south
- Miami International Airport 225 miles south
Where To Shop Near The Port
If you need to pick up last-minute items before embarkation, there are a few stores nearby. At the cruise terminal, youll find the Seaman Centre Port Canaveral supermarket. Its mainly designed for crew but you can get a toothbrush or snacks for your cabin. Its about a three-minute walk from Cruise Terminal 5 and seven minutes from Cruise Terminal 6.
Closer to Terminal 1, look for Sunrise Marina, which has a bait-and-tackle shop that also sells some clothing, sandals and sunglasses, plus souvenirs.
If you need to do a lot of shopping, drive to Merritt Square Mall or Walmart . Both shopping centers are about 20 minutes from the port.
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Royal Caribbean Cruises Travel Tips
- A brand name that you know and can trust.
- Industry master, with over 50 years of experience and operation in the cruise line sector.
- They provide an incredible travel experience to all ages and have amazing amenities to help heighten your experience.
- Rock walls, surfing, and even waterparks to offer you something unique that you won’t find on any other cruise ship.
- Simply unpack and settle in once, then relax into your stateroom for the remainder of your trip.
- Our fast processes for embarkation and disembarkation give guests even more time to explore and allow for quicker access to the ship to reach anything you may need from us or your room.
- Incredible staterooms and suites to offer you the most relaxing experience while onboard.
- Incredible personalized experience designed to provide a family-like atmosphere.
- The industry’s most knowledgeable cruise managers and guides, providing you with the best guided experiences in the cruise market.
- Varied excursions available including everything from walking tours to guided biking tours, hikes, and more.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Resume Sailing August 7
As of March 2020, Norwegian made the call to suspend voyages across their fleet worldwide. The plan was for the ships to resume sailing in April 2020, but the suspension was lengthened multiple times. Itâs now been extended through July 2021 for the U.S., with cruises returning in August.
According to the NCL, the first cruise scheduled from the United States is a trip from Seattle to Alaska on August 7.
Notably, there is some question if that cruise will sail from Florida, where trips are scheduled starting August 15. Norwegian has been firm that it wants to sail with 100% of passengers vaccinated. However, Florida law says businesses canât require proof of vaccination from customers.
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Port Canaveral Tours Shore Excursions Hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center: NASAâs base where Apollo missions have been launched. Watch a movie at the center of IMAX, learn the space exploration future at the Exploration Space show, go to the Apollo Center and the LC39 Gantry or try the Shuttle Launch Experience.
- US Astronaut Hall of Fame: 5 miles away from the Kennedy Space Center. Honor the American astronauts, watch the Science On A Sphere show, try the Sigma 7 Mercury rocket or a real training for astronauts.
- Jetty Park: park at the coastline with a beach, camping and a playground, picnic areas and pavilions. Enjoy the amazing marine traffic view from the pier, favorite place for fishermen and tourists. You can have a coffee, eat or buy something at the Cove Waterfront area, located between the park and the port.
- Cocoa Beach Pier: dating since 1962, Space coast best-known landmark located 4 miles away ftom Port Canaveral. It offers bars, souvenir shops, restaurants, live music and lively beach.
- Orlando Amusement Parks: enjoy the attractions Walt Disney World , Disney/MGM Studios, Universal Studios, Sea World of Florida and much more.
Port Port Canaveral cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port’s schedule lists all ships with cruises going to or leaving from Port Canaveral, Orlando, Florida. To see the full itineraries and their lowest rates â just follow the corresponding ship-link.