CRUISING, CRUISE SHIPS & THE CORONA VIRUS – Jan 17th 2021
WEEKLY NEWS & UPDATES
from Bill Miller
Jan 17th 2021
Sun Jan 3rd Rotterdam: Hans Hoffmann has generously sent this superb aerial photo of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Mardi Gras – sailing from its birthplace in Finland via Rotterdam to Florida. The $1 billion, 5,200-passenger ship weighs in at 182,000 tons. She is part of a new generation of Carnival ships and is the first new arrival in US cruising for 2021.
But Then Another One Gone: The classic Marco Polo was sent out from the UK to Dubai, supposedly to be used as a floating hotel and then revived at a future date for further cruising. But things have suddenly changed – as of today, the 56-year-old ship – the former Soviet Alexandr Pushkin – was sold for $2.7 million to Indian scrappers. As of today, she was headed for Alang, to be beached and then demolished.
Above: Portugal’s Vera Cruz (1952)
Mon Jan 4th Last Rites in India: Carnival’s first newbuild was the Tropicale of 1981. But now, after several names and lastly as the Ocean Dream (below), the 38,000-ton ship has reached Alang and is soon to be scrapped.
Tue Jan 5th Safety in the Skies: Because many cruises include air connections, Airline Ratings.com’s safest airlines for 2021 are:
2. Qatar Airways
3. Air New Zealand
4. Singapore Airlines
6. EVA Air
7. Etihad Airways
8. Alaska Airlines
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
10. British Airways
11. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
12. Hawaiian Airlines
13. Southwest Airlines
14. Delta Air Lines
15. American Airlines
20. United Airlines
Above: Proposed rebuilds for the SS United States over the years
Wed Jan 6th Busy Year Ahead! 2021 will ring in 27 cruise ships, adding 39,530 lower berths to the global fleet. It is a $10 ½ billion investment and includes 15 expedition ships.
Carnival Update: Carnival Cruise Line is notifying guests of additional cruise cancellations, including extending its pause in all operations in the U.S. through Mar 31st, as well as select ships and homeport operations related to itineraries and dry dock work.
Thu Jan 7th Another Re-Start Date: Costa Cruises announced it will restart operations in Italy on Jan. 31 with the Costa Deliziosa, citing uncertainty with regards to COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks and confirming that it had cancelled other sailings between Jan 7 and Jan 31.
Mon Jan 11th More Disposals: Carnival Corporation that 4 more ships would be withdrawn & sold off from its various brands.
Slow Up: Carnival Corp was expecting the delivery of no less than 5 new cruise liners this year. But construction as well as delivery dates – now, only one new liner will be commissioned this year. Word is that construction in Italy has temporarily stopped on Cunard’s fourth liner.
Above: The Greek Line’s Olympia at Bermuda, Nov 1969
Thu Jan 14th Looking Ahead: Yesterday, the first steel was laid for Carnival Cruise Lines’ next newbuild, the $1 billion Carnival Celebration. The 5,300-bed ship will be constructed at Turku in Finland. Meanwhile, Carnival’s 50th Birthday festivities begin in March 2022 – the company’s birthday month – with a series of commemorative sailings that will feature special entertainment and itineraries and continuing all year long, culminating with Carnival Celebration’s arrival in November.
Sales Dept: Bookings for the first half of 2022 are running ahead of the very high 2019 levels, according to Carnival Corporation. Booking trends confirm the underlying demand for cruising that will support the company’s resumption of service.
Update from India: Our good friend Justin Zizes has passed along this photo of the beached and ready-to-be-scrapped Marco Polo (below).
Sat Jan 16th: News from Cunard! It was announced this week that Cunard’s bookings for 2022 are greater than those in 2019. On another hand, a friend who loves sailing on the Queens has just had her 6th cancelation & postponement. She was booked for a 3-week combination Queen Mary 2/Queen Victoria combination, but added: “I’m thinking of changing to the Staten Island ferry!”
Above: Regal Empress sailing from New York (Aug 2000)
Building Ships: Cruise ship construction is continuing with fitting out progressing on existing projects while work is also commencing on existing orders from the major cruise companies. While the construction timelines and delivery dates have been extended, no large cruise ship orders have been canceled in the nine months since the industry went on pause.
Above: “Even here out at sea, we never miss Scribblings & news updates from Mr Ocean Liner!”
Above: Built in 1987 and last used by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, the 600-passenger Astor is shown being scrapped at Aliaga in Turkey this past week. The German-built ship has had a diverse life – starting with Safmarine Lines and then Morgan Leisure before going to the Odessa-based Black Sea Shipping Co and finally on charters to Germany’s Transocean Tours and then CMV.
A Very Sad Situation: The Italian News Website Corriere della Sera reports that the crew onboard Pacific World (former Sun Princess) are facing dire conditions. Corriere released a video from the ship’s chief engineer officer Michele Bertella, explaining that the temperature is approaching minus degrees and there is no heating on board, there is a shortage of fresh food and the ship is understaffed. Mr. Bertella explains that he along with 40 crew members onboard are unable to return home because of the anti-Covid restrictions in China. Anchored near Shanghai, the 77,000-ton ship was to be handed over to new owners, the Japanese Peace Boat Organization.
Looking Ahead! Oceania Cruises unveiled its 2023 world cruise with 96 ports.
Cruising will return! .. but for now, best thanks to friends, readers, reporters & those faraway “maritime secret agents”