What Is Happening In Cruise World Now
All passengers have now arrived home, although as of last week, thousands of crew, many from India, the Philippines, and Indonesia, still remained at sea. In the absence of repatriation flights, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises have now begun actually sailing crew members home, some all the way to Asia, or conveying them to ports across the Caribbean, then putting them on specially chartered flights home.
Cruising is without a doubt bruised, and the three biggest lines, Carnival Corporation, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, will not qualify for U.S. government aid, as they are all registered offshore. Whats more, drastic new protocols will be needed to restore confidence, as well as an extensive public relations campaign to communicate the details of those protocols to prospective passengers.
For ships sailing to and from US ports, the CDC’s no-sail-order remains in place and lists various protocols that the CDC would need to sign off on prior to any sailing: how would a ship dispose of used PPE, for example, and precisely how would any sick passengers be tested onboard? Importantly, the CDC wants cruise lines to demonstrate that, should an outbreak occur, they would not be over-reliant on government resources and local shoreside hospitals.
Enhanced Hygiene And Safety On Cruise Ships
As a frequent cruiser, I know that safety and hygiene has always been a top concern on cruise ships. I can also vouch for the amount of cleaning and disinfection that happens on a regular basis.
However, these arent normal times, and this new health situation requires even more vigilance.;
Cruise lines have begun to share their plans with us, so we can get an idea of how they plan to ensure safety and hygiene on board. While we dont know all the details, we can imagine that this is something cruise lines are working on with their team of experts.
The Restart Is Underway
The restart of cruise operations is underway by multiple cruise lines already and more will begin resuming through the remainder of 2021. The two largest cruise lines for Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have already restarted with a limited number of ships from the US as the situation theres is moving forward quickly.
The Celebrity Edge cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean group became the first to restart operations with regular passengers from the US which departed on June 26 out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Freedom of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, was the first cruise ship to be approved for a test sailing at the end of June. That was then followed by the vessel resuming out of Miami, Florida on July 2, 2021.
When it comes to Carnival Cruise Line, as of July 21, a total of three ships have already restarted sailings. Carnival Vista was the first to resume in the fleet when she departed Galveston, Texas on July 3, 2021. Carnival Horizon was then the second in the fleet to resume when the ship departed out of Miami, Florida on July 4, 2021. Carnival Breeze was then the third in the fleet and resume from the Port of Galveston on July 15.
In Canada, the situation has just recently made a major step forward towards reopening for cruise ships. On July 15, the government announced that from that have a capacity of over 100. As long as cruise lines follow the health protocols, then they will be able to resume from that date.
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When Will Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships Sail Again
Here’s a list of Royal Caribbean ships and when they’re set to sail.;By the end of August, the cruise line plans to have 12 ships cruising across the Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska and Europe.;
- Freedom of the Seas:;3- and 4-night cruises;to the Bahamas and private destination Perfect Day at CocoCay from Miami, starting July 2.
- Odyssey of the Seas:;6- and 8-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, starting July 3.
- Serenade of the Seas: 7-night Alaska sailings from Seattle, starting July 19.
- Allure of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 8.
- Ovation of the Seas: 7-night Alaska cruises from Seattle, starting Aug. 13.; ;
- Symphony of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami, starting Aug. 14.
- Independence of the Seas: 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15.
- 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay cruises from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 23.
Cruises not on the list will be cancelled through the end of August, and affected customers will have the option to receive a full return, according to Royal Caribbean.;
Cruise Lines Planned Reopenings: The Complete List
Cruise lines around the world will be reopening this spring and summer as the cruise industry looks to start its recovery.;With vaccination rollouts happening around the world, travelers looking forward to cruising again may finally see an end to the suspensions.
There are a lot of factors that have to come together to make these sailings happen but one things for sure.;
People still want to cruise.
This list will be updated weekly so make sure to bookmark this page and check back often!
Important Note:These are projected sailing dates from each cruise line. Cruise line suspensions can be extended at anytime. This information is based on information directly from the official website for each Cruise Line. Sailings and reopening dates can change without notice.;
We do not;endorse or encourage traveling against government and health travel advisories.;
The decision to travel is your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities before booking travel.
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What’s Happening In Florida
Mostly what’s happening in Florida is Gov. Ron DeSantis, who emerged early as a staunch opponent of any vaccine requirements. A potential 2024 presidential candidate, DeSantis is determined;to use vaccination as another culture war battle. On April 2, he issued an executive order prohibiting businesses and government agencies in the state from requiring proof of vaccination. A month later he signed a bill passed by the Florida legislature that confirmed the ban.;
DeSantis insists that cruise lines operating from Florida will be fined “millions of dollars” if they require vaccination for passengers . It may feel odd that he’s taking on such a huge industry, but the governor has consistently resisted coronavirus lockdowns as harmful to business. Jim Walker, a maritime attorney told the Washington Post, “this stunt to me just reeks of political buffoonery.”;
Florida also sued the CDC over its cruising regulations. After mediation between the two sides;failed, US District Judge Steven Merryday;blocked the agency from enforcing the rules in Florida starting July 18. Instead, Merryday ruled that the CDC can only make recommendations.;
Whats Going On With Alaskan Cruises
Little known quirks of maritime law have led some cruise lines that specialize in Alaskan expeditions to cancel all sailings from ports in the Lower 48 states through the end of 2021.
Understand;Vaccine and Mask Mandates in the U.S.
Though they seem like American companies, many of the big cruise lines like Princess and Holland America, are, in fact, foreign-owned. According to United States law, foreign-flagged cruise ships are not permitted to cruise between U.S. ports without first visiting at least one foreign port. So cruises from Western cities like Seattle have typically stopped in Vancouver, Canada, on their way to Alaska.
But in February, Canadian authorities extended their ban on cruising through February 2022, effectively shutting down the Alaskan cruise business until then.
Earlier this month, senators introduced a bill that would waive the requirement that ships stop in a foreign port, but a vote could still be months off.
While Alaska cruises are on hold, cruise companies are pivoting to offer land tours of the state using their lodging and tour networks.
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Why Most Cruise Lines Will Not Sail Until At Least August:
The biggest hurdle is to overcome is the USA CDC allowing cruise travel again. They effectively have put a no sail order in effect that basically lasts until late July unless they cancel the order or determine that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency. While we assume that COULD happen, its unlikely. You can read more about the CDC no sail order here.
Secondly, most ports are still closed to cruise ships. While ports like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico stated they were going to begin to reopen May 18, 2020, it is a phased opening that doesnt include cruise travel. So without ports open, cruise ships cant dock anywhere. With phased reopening of major ports starting early June, it will take weeks if not months of phasing in travel and tourism activities.
But I Read A Story Headlined: More People Are Booking Cruises Now Than Before Coronavirus Outbreak
Yes, I read that too. It was based on a Los Angeles Times article published on 9 April, saying that an Iowa-based company, CruiseCompete.com, was reporting a 40 per cent increase in bookings for 2021 compared with 2019.
An important caveat that was missing from the story: CruiseCompete.com does not sell travel, as the firm itself confirms.
It may be that some cruise lines are seeing comforting booking levels for late 2020 and 2021 because they are offering very generous terms to passengers whose voyages have been cancelled. Typically, they have offered future cruise credits that give a 25 per cent bonus to anyone who is prepared to defer their trip rather than ask for a full refund.
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With The Future So Uncertain Would I Be Mad To Book A Trip
No, it would be perfectly rational. There are some excellent deals out there, and for a while at least cruising looks like a buyers market even with seemingly inevitable reductions in capacity.
Even though the financial position of some cruise firms might be precarious, by booking in the UK you are covered by the Package Travel Regulations, which would ensure that you get your money back in the event that the company fails.
There May Be Some Great Bargains Ahead But Also A Lot To Weigh Up
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Cruising has long appeared to have a golden touch.
For years the industry has steadily expanded, with almost every cabin on almost every vessel filled, and new to cruise passengers reliably taking up the space vacated by old cruisers who had taken their final voyage, and expanding into the cabins created by new ships.
But for the past month, the only good news anywhere in the cruise industry has been when a port finally opens up to allow a ship with cases of Covid-19 on board to dock.
As the last few vessels make their way into port ahead of a global shutdown in cruising, what does the future hold for cruise lines, their crew and their passengers? These are the key questions and answers.
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Heres When Alaska Cruises From Seattle Will Start Again And Which Lines Will Resume
A cruise ship seen off Alki Beach on Sunday, May 12, 2019 in West Seattle. Several cruise lines plan to resume cruises between Seattle and Alaska as early as July. TNS
Cruises from Seattle to Alaska are set to return this summer after federal lawmakers cleared the way for sailings that have been on hold since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The move signals the return of a significant slice of downtown Seattles economy, where some waterfront businesses plan staffing around the cruise schedule. But significant questions remain about exact safety protocols the cruise lines will enforce.
Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line said Thursday they would resume cruising to Alaska for a partial season starting in July for passengers who have proof of vaccination.
Princess Cruises will sail seven-day cruises from July 25 through Sept. 26. Sales will begin on May 21.
Holland America Line will resume seven-day cruises to depart on Saturdays from July 24 through Oct. 2.
Carnival will depart weekly from July 27 to Sept. 14. Most trips will be seven-day cruises, with one eight-day trip that has one additional stop.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also started selling tickets for August sailings from Seattle to Alaska, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Proof of vaccination will be required, the companies said Thursday. Decisions about masks, social distancing and precise quarantine procedures are still to come.
Viking Ocean Cruise Deals
Just like on all Viking riverboats, Viking Ocean deals are inclusive of popular amenities, such as Wi-Fi Internet, alcohol , shore excursions , spa usage , Gym , library , 24-hour room service; absolutely all meals at any of the onboard restaurants; beverages , self-service laundry; in-room movies on demand, lectures, airport to cruise port transfers. At additional cost are only spa massages, beauty salon services; specialty beer, premium alcohol , and some shore excursions.
In early 2018 was announced, that the Viking Cruises company raised USD 975 million through a private placement of USD 275 million plus USD 675 million .
- The note proceeds were used for repaying all the company’s loans used to finance the building of the Viking Ocean liners Star and Sky, as well as for repurchasing Viking Sea .
- As of January 2018, Viking Cruises operated a combined fleet of 62 riverboats plus 4 ocean ships. As ownership, 1/5 of the company is owned by TPG Capital and CPP Investment Board . Company’s Net revenues for FY2017 were estimated at about USD 1 billion.
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What About Stopping In Ports
Ports could have their own requirements, like not being able to leave the ship if you didn’t book a shore excursion. Your departure country also may have its own vaccination or testing regulations for arriving tourists stricter than your cruise line. Again, do your research.
As for countries that haven’t opened their borders to full tourism yet, your ship won’t be stopping there at all. That means for the time being, Alaska cruises won’t be departing from, or calling at, Canadian ports. Until recently, that would have made Alaska cruising impossible due a federal law that prohibited foreign-flagged ships from carrying passengers between two US ports without stopping at a foreign port. But last month President Biden signed a bill that temporarily lifted that regulation. Now ships can sail from Seattle to Alaska nonstop.
But until Australia opens its borders you won’t be able to cruise there.
How To Book A Cruise Now:
Given the number of unknownsthe nature and timing of CDC regulations and of its protocol approval processes, as well as of port closures, other travel restrictions, and what the virus itself might dothe safest bet is to book your cruise through travel advisors who specialize in cruises. They will be abreast of all the latest developments and can also help if you need to cancel or reschedule. Importantly, they are unbiased and put the traveler’s interests first.
Town & Country recommends the following, all of whom are also on travel guru Wendy Perrin’s WOW list of carefully vetted travel advisors:
- Tom Baker of CruiseCenter specializes in large ships and river cruises. Anywhere you want to go, chances are he’s beenhe has sailed on more than 250 ships over the yearsand knows the best itineraries, cabin types, and shore excursions. According to Perrin, he has particular clout with “river lines AmaWaterways, Amadeus, Scenic, Tauck River, Crystal River Cruises, Uniworld, and Viking, and with ocean lines Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Windstar.”
- Ashton Palmer of Expedition Trips specializes in small-ship sailings to wild, remote, unpeopled places from the Galapagos to Papua New Guinea, the Russian Far East, and, of course, the two poles. He’ll match you to the right ship and tell you frankly if a two-week trip to the Arctic might not be right for you.
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Which Norwegian Cruise Line Ships Are Restarting Operations
Find out which Norwegian Cruise Line ships are restarting operations in the coming months including sailings from the U.S.
With the start of operations coming closer in the United States, its worth having a look where Norwegian Cruise Line stands on its resumption plans. We have a look at when and where the cruise line will start sailing again from the United States and when and where it will start sailing again from international ports of call.
Norwegian Cruise Line is the only of the three biggest cruise companies that have been steadfast in its conviction to sail only with guests that have been vaccinated fully. The cruise line has so far laid out plans for cruises onboard many different vessels, however as the past weeks have shown, nothing is certain just yet.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Original Update: The cruise line which is based out of West Palm Beach, Florida has remained silent through early 2021. Announced on April 9, the small cruise line will make a comeback with short cruises to the Bahamas starting on July 2, 2021.
Update 1: In a recent development from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, Grand Classica has been approved by the CDC to operated a simulated voyage. The ship will depart on June 25 on a 2-night test cruise to stress test health protocols as per the CDC Conditional Sailing Order requirements.
Update 2: In early July, the cruise line altered its return to service date and its planned simulated cruise. The test cruise finally departed out of West Palm Beach, Florida on July 13 with cruises officially restarting from July 16.
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