CRUISING, CRUISE SHIPS & THE CORONA VIRUS – AUGUST 15, 2021
WEEKLY NEWS & UPDATES
from Bill Miller
Mon Aug 9th Baltic Cruising: In case you’re thinking of a Baltic cruise in future, Finland has been voted as the “happiest” country on the planet. And in the top five, there’s also Iceland, Denmark & the Netherlands.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has announced today that a Florida judge ruled in its favor granting a preliminary injunction which paves the way for the company’s three brands to require documentation confirming a guest’s vaccination status prior to boarding for cruises departing from Florida.
China Merchants Viking Cruises won’t be cruising in August and has delayed its start up until further notice. The company had previously gotten the green light to sail a series of 8-day cruises from Shenzhen to Hainan Province with the former Viking Sun, now the Zhao Shang Yi Dun and sailing under the Chinese flag. The company cited the evolving pandemic situation in China as the reason for the delay and said it was “the right decision to postpone all voyages.” Another locally-flagged operator, Astro Ocean Cruises with their Piano Land (ex-Oriana) , was expected to start up in August as well. That program is also said to be delayed.
American Queen Steamboat Company announced that the American Queen welcomes her first revenue guests in 18 months today, becoming the fourth vessel to return to service for the U.S. flagged cruise line.
Tue Aug 10th Norwegian Cruise Line and luxury sister brands Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will be allowed to require passengers to show proof of vaccination in order to sail, following a preliminary injunction granted by a judge on Sunday. Since cruise lines announced they’d be resuming sailings from the U.S., Norwegian Cruise Line has been the only brand to commit to a 100% vaccination rate for both crew and passengers. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made that more difficult to achieve when he issued an executive order in early May that prohibits Florida businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the premises.
Cunard: The final touches are being made to the 92,000-ton Queen Elizabeth as the cruise line prepares to return to sailing on Friday, August 13th after a 17 month break.
MSC Cruises: Maiden voyage! Passengers boarded at Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, as part of the ship’s inaugural seven-night western Mediterranean itinerary. The 1,112-ft long MSC Seashore (below) will next call Messina in Sicily and Valletta in Malta, then head back to Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa. Following her summer season in the western Mediterranean, the 5,900-passenger MSC Seashore will complete an 18-night trans-Atlantic crossing to PortMiami for seven-night Caribbean cruises this winter.
Viking Ocean: Viking’s entire ocean fleet is expected to be in service by August as the Viking Jupiter, Viking Star and others are added to the active lineup. Since restarting service in May, Viking has been offering cruises in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Bermuda and the Mediterranean. Below: Three of Viking’s 940-passenger ships laid-up at Belfast.
Cash Burn! Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are still burning through cash as some ships emerge from lay up back into operations. Cash burn numbers may be up in the third quarter with added costs to reactivate ships, needed maintenance, potential drydocks, procurement, getting crew back and more. Only one out of the three big cruise companies provided estimates on third quarter cash burn, indicating it would be up close to 45 percent. Below: Carnival’s P&O Cruises division.
Wed Aug 11th Disappointment! A young Italian couple planned a special honeymoon – taking a Mediterranean cruise, but especially standing on their shipboard terrace & watching the iconic sights of beautiful Venice. But cruise ships have been banned from the historic port and instead their MSC cruise ship berthed several miles away, at nearby Monfalcone. So, instead their honeymoon view was a shipyard, containers & a power plant.
Thu Aug 12th Malta: With at least three cruise ships now running cruises from Valletta, special charter flights are being offered from Newark NJ. Maltese nostalgia: The cruise ship Island Breeze (the former Transvaal Castle/S A Vaal/Festivale) is shown below.
Thu Aug 12th Celebrity: Friends from Florida wrote today: “Just returned from our Cruise on Celebrity Summit. In and out of St. Maarten with stops in Barbados and Grenada. Next stops were Curaçao, and then Aruba. Great weeklong getaway. All passengers had to be vaccinated and proof of negative COVID tests coming and upon disembarking from the ship. Only 300 passengers on board. They redid the ship and it’s a really nice upgrade. We were in the Retreat section and in a suite.”
Somnio: A ultra-luxurious residential yacht! Tillberg Design of Sweden has been appointed lead architect for master planning and interior concepts for Somnio, which features 39 onboard apartments with amenities. The name Somnio derives from Latin, meaning “to dream”..
Shipyards are facing an almost overwhelming demand for slots as many cruise ships need refits & refurbishing before returning to service in the months ahead.
Norwegian Cruise Lines: The innovative Norwegian Prima was recently floated out at a Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.
The 142,500-ton Norwegian Prima is a very interesting looking mega-ship. She is the first of 6 Leonardo Class liners for NCL – and with options for 2 more. The 965-ft long ship can carry 3,215 passengers and is designed for both North American & European cruising.
Sat Aug 14th Carnival: Twenty-six crew members and one passenger have tested positive for Covid 19 aboard a Carnival cruise ship that departed this week from Galveston, Texas. The Carnival Vista was carrying 2,895 passengers and 1,441 crew members, the Belize Tourism Board announced on Wednesday ahead of the cruiseship’s arrival. All of the 27 people who contracted Covid 19 were vaccinated but had breakthrough cases that were either “asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.
Below: From my old shoe box – Carnival Cruise Lines’ first ship, the Mardi Gras, in 1972; she was the former Empress of Canada
Finest thanks to friends, readers, reporters & those faraway “maritime secret agents”