Skip to main content




from Bill Miller

August  2021

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”




Above:  Cruising in Alaska’s Glacier Bay on the Fairsea of Sitmar Cruises (Jul 1976)

From Bill Miller

Update:  August 2021

Sun Aug 1st Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas had 6 positive cases of Covid on their recent roundtrip cruise from Nassau.  In the same cruise area, the Crystal Serenity reported 2 cases.

Portugal:  The Portuguese government has announced a staged plan to lift restrictions, with all current limits being removed by Oct 2021.

Greece:  Andreas Potamianos, one of Greece’s most prominent shipowners, passed away on Friday at the age of 88.   His family owned the Epirotiki Lines, a popular Greek isles & Eastern Mediterranean cruise line, and later Royal Olympic Cruises (from a merger with the Sun Line).    Epirotiki itself is said to have run the very first Greek isles cruise from Piraeus back in 1954.  Among the Company’s earliest ships was the “cuising yacht” Argonaut (below), a ship also well known for her charter cruises to the Smithsonian Museum.

Tue Aug 3rd The cruise industry’s accelerated restart is continuing in August as 190 cruise ships representing 65 different brands will operate with guests aboard,  The 190 ships represent over 275,000 berths at full occupancy. The ships are an average size of approximately 1,500 guests each. It was a positive end to the month of July, with Norwegian Cruise Line relaunching operation, Carnival’s new Mardi Gras sailing, and the Allure of the Seas (below) completing a test cruise for Royal Caribbean International, while Dream Cruises and Genting relaunched service in Hong Kong.

MSC Cruises:  The MSC Meraviglia (below right) has become the latest MSC cruise ship to welcome guests onboard again after the pandemic when she sailed last night out of PortMiami, Florida.  MSC Cruises said that this is a key milestone as part of the line’s global plan to have more than half of its fleet back at sea by the end of this summer, following the line’s initial restart in the Mediterranean in August 2020 and over the past several months the return at sea of more of its ships across the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, the UK, the Red Sea and now in the Caribbean out of the U.S.

Lindblad:  After resuming ship operations in June, by end-July Lindblad Expeditions had eight of nine vessels in service. Bookings for 2022 are 36% ahead of the bookings for 2021 a year prior.

Princess: The Majestic Princess returned to Seattle last weekend, concluding its sailing to Alaska and marking the first successful United States voyage for Princess Cruises following the extended pause in operations.

Farewell Sydney

Carnival:    The $1 ½ billion Mardi Gras arrived in San Juan on her first visit today.   The Company announced:  “As part of Carnival Cruise Line’s highly anticipated return to guest operations, the line’s newest and most innovative ship Mardi Gras [below] arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, today, marking the ship’s first port of call on its maiden voyage. The Mardi Gras is also the first cruise ship to stop in San Juan in 16 months.”

Thu Aug 5th More from Carnival saying that bookings for future cruises soared in March, April & May – jumping by 45%.   Carnival also revealed that nearly 50% of its canceled cruise passengers opted for credit rather than a refund.

Royal Caribbean revealed that all of its Jul & Aug cruises were fully booked – if at reduced Covid capacities, of course.

Fri Aug 6th Carnival, Royal Caribbean & Norwegian Cruise – the three largest cruise operators – were losing a combined $900 million per month during the pandemic.   Analysts suggest that it will probably take until 2023 for the three major players to start substantially reducing their debt.

Fri Aug 6th Yet More from Carnival Cruise Line:  Yesterday, Carnival  changed its face covering and testing policies.  From Aug 7th, all guests will be required to wear face masks indoors. This includes elevators, shops, casinos, restaurant halls and queuing areas.  A spokesperson added, “In any (indoor) area where many people are gathered and when you’re not eating or drinking, we are going to require you to wear a face mask, and this is for all guests, not just those who are unvaccinated.”

Additionally, from Aug 14th, all cruises will require all guests to test negative for coronavirus within three days before the sailing.

Norwegian Cruise reported:  “Last week we reached a historic milestone in our Great Cruise Comeback with the successful commencement of our re-launch with the first ship in our fleet, the Norwegian Jade, sailing the Greek Isles. Tomorrow (Sat Aug 7th)  will mark our first cruise in the United States in over 500 days as the Norwegian Encore sets sail from Seattle to Alaska.  The company expects to have approximately 40% of its fleet capacity operating by the end of the third quarter 2021 and approximately 75% by year-end 2021 with the full fleet expected to be back in operation by April 1, 2022.

Royal Caribbean:  What occupancy does Royal Caribbean Group need on its ships to be at a break even point for cashflow?  The answer:  Somewhere between 35 and 50 percent, depending on the ship.

Out of the old shoebox:   

Below:  A Sat morning in Aug 1969 at New York – the Michelangelo (left) departs with the Nieuw Amsterdam soon to follow

D:\Bill\Pictures\New York Liners\046.jpg

Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places! 



From Bill Miller

July 17th 2021

Mon Jul 12th Norwegian Cruise Lines plans to resume cruises from New York in October.

Tue Jul 13th Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) filed a lawsuit today against the surgeon general for the State of Florida.  The lawsuit challenges the state’s action of fining businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of Norwegian’s previously announced August 15th  restart from Florida, where the line has promised 100 percent vaccinated sailings.

Royal Caribbean plans “test cruises” from Cape Liberty at Bayonne in August.

Wed Jul 14th Crystal has scrubbed its program of summer & fall 10-night cruises from Antigua and instead reassigned the Crystal Symphony to 7-day Bermuda cruising from Boston and then from New York.

Cunard has axed its long winter world cruises and the Queen Mary 2 will now make winter voyages from New York – crossings as well as cruises – before resuming her original schedule in April.

Fri Jul 16th Fred Olsen: Teething problems!  A technical issue has rendered Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis unable to operate its five-night ‘Scenic Orkney & Faroes’ cruise set to depart from Liverpool on July 17th.   The 68,000-ton Borealis is the HAL Rotterdam of 1998.

Canada is lifting its cruise ship ban effective Nov 1st

Viking Ocean:  Our good friend and world class cruise expert Anne Kalosh tells us:  “Fincantieri’s Ancona yard today floated out Viking Mars, the eighth ship in a series for Viking Cruises and due for early 2022 delivery.  The Viking Mars will be named by godmother Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth countess of Carnarvon, and spend its maiden season sailing in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe before embarking on voyages in Asia and Australia. Since 2013, Viking has offered travelers a variety of ways to experience life at Highclere Castle, home of the earl and countess of Carnarvon, and the filming location for Downton Abbey. For more than a year, Lady Carnarvon has welcomed viewers to Highclere Castle on Viking TV.”

Regent:  The hugely knowledgeable Anne also reports:  “Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2024 world cruise sold out in 2 1/2 hours on July 14th, at fares ranging from $73,499 to $199,999 per person. This was the third year in a row for record-breaking world cruise sales at Regent. The line’s previous world cruise opening day record was set when the 2023 world cruise went on sale in September 2020.”

Carnival has resumed cruising from Galveston.


Out of the old shoebox:   

Above:  New York on a sunny August day in 1990 – the Eugenio Costa & QE2 are berthed while the Crystal Harmony approaches on her maiden  call;  Below:  A Tue morning arrival at Pier 90, New York for the Queen Elizabeth.  She had just arrived from a 5-day crossing from Southampton and Cherbourg.   The stern of the United States can be seen on the right.

D:\Bill\Pictures\New York Liners\076d.jpg

Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places! 



From Bill Miller

July 4th 2021

Mon Jun 21st Bits’n Pieces:  After confirming its service resumption in Alaska, Princess Cruises has announced its intent to return to service in other US ports, sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale this fall.  By the Nov, eight big Princess  ships will be once again taking guests to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii and the California Coast. … Cruise lines are planning restarts in various phases in 2021, including a number of smaller European niche brands. … Although I won’t list them, some cruise lines are offering “insane” deals to recruit passengers following the long, otherwise very costly pandemic shutdown.

Tue Jun 22nd Holland America Line is gearing up to restart cruising out of Port of San Diego in California beginning with a season of cruises to Mexico, Hawaii and along the California coast aboard Koningsdam and Zuiderdam. The cruise line has expanded the season with the addition of six new cruise departures for Zuiderdam and two new cruises on Koningsdam, offering a total of 40 cruises from San Diego from Sep 2021 through Apr 2022. With the resumption of service on the West Coast, Holland America also is looking toward cruising in the Caribbean with four ships. All sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the season will begin Oct 23rd 2021, with Nieuw Amsterdam. The ship will be joined by the new Rotterdam Nov 3, Eurodam Nov 14 and Nieuw Statendam Nov 21. Caribbean cruises range in length from four to 14 days, span the entire region and include a call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island.

Royal Caribbean International embarked on its first simulated voyage Sunday as the cruise industry continues moving in the direction of resuming regular sailings. Last Sunday, the 3,600-bed Freedom of the Seas welcomed employee volunteers on board at Port Miami.

Celebrity Cruises:  Excitement, anticipation, and awe. These three words captured the feeling of passengers and onlookers as Celebrity Apex sailed out of the Port of Athens, on Sat Jun 19th, to begin her maiden voyage and first summer season in the Aegean. The much-anticipated sailing marks an historic moment for the company, which had originally planned to introduce its newest ship in late Mar 2020. Guests and fans of the brand have waited ever-since with huge anticipation to experience the fleet’s new flagship.

Wed Jun 23rd More Bits’n Pieces: Christmas-New Year holiday cruises are just about heavily wait-listed across the board. Travelers are anxious to get away. Disney, as example, is promising the best holiday trips yet! … Denmark: From Jun 26th, vaccinated cruise guests will be allowed to go ashore in Denmark without any restrictions.

P&O Cruises has announced its expected deployment and phased re-start plan for the remainder of 2021 and into early 2022.  The Britannia will begin the planned western Mediterranean itineraries on Sep 25th  and the brand new Iona will start her Atlantic coast holidays from the same date. These cruises will follow the series of UK coastal cruises beginning in June.  The Ventura’s first cruises will be the planned program of Atlantic islands holidays from Oct 3rd.  Following the Mediterranean season, running until Oct, the Britannia will reposition to the Caribbean for her winter season as scheduled, followed by the Azura which will begin Caribbean fly/cruises slightly later than published from Dec 10th

Thu Jun 24th Carnival Cruise Line announced plans yesterday to grow its fleet by two additional ships by 2023, taking the delivery position of an Excel-class ship that had previously been assigned to sister line AIDA Cruises that will arrive in late 2023, as well as taking ownership of the Costa Magica from another of its European sister lines, with that ship going through a dry dock, renaming and Carnival-branded conversion and joining the fleet by mid-2022.

More News from Carnival Corp:  Eight cruise line brands from Carnival Corporation have announced plans to resume guest cruise operations, with AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Seabourn sailing in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. The company said it expects to have 42 ships in service through the end of its fiscal year 2021 (Nov 30th), representing 52 percent of the company’s total capacity across its global fleet of 91 cruise ships.

Hurtigruten, best known for its Norwegian coastal service and expedition cruising, is heading into Galapagos cruising, having inked a deal with Metropolitan Touring to take guests to the region starting in Jan 2022. Hurtigruten now has a satellite: Hurtigruten Expeditions.

Sea Days!  While it is all a matter of choice, the well respected Cruise Critic has selected 8 ships for the “best days at sea”.  

When Royal Caribbean’s gargantuan and game-changing Oasis of the Seas debuted as the then-world’s largest ship in 2009, people wondered if anyone would bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the onboard activities. With 24 dining options, 21 pools and hot tubs, multiple live performance venues (including an ice rink and AquaTheater for high-diving shows) and seven “neighborhoods,” the ship practically guarantees that no one will have trouble finding something to do.  Well, lots of cruise travelers prefer spending time onboard – including during port calls – and the top 8 cruise ships for “stay aboard” cruising are:

  1. Norwegian Escape
  2. Carnival Vista
  3. Harmony of the Seas
  4. Disney Fantasy
  5. Queen Mary 2
  6. Crystal Serenity
  7. Celebrity Reflection
  8. Regal Princess

Fri Jun 25th Further News from Carnival:  “Our strategic decision to accelerate the exit of 19 ships has lowered our capacity growth to roughly 2.5% compounded annually from 2019 through 2025, that’s down from 4.5% pre-COVID,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, on the company’s second quarter earnings call on Thursday.  “Moreover, we have opportunistically rebalanced our portfolio through the ship exits as well as the ship transfer and a modification to our newbuild schedule, the combination of which will transfer 8,000 berths from our Continental European brands to America’s favorite cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line to optimize the current environment, maximize cash generation and improve our return on invested capital.”

For Sale!  Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises brand today announced the AIDAcara has been sold and will leave the fleet soon after 25 years in service for the German cruise brand. A buyer was not named.

Added News from AIDA:  AIDA Cruises has announced it will open the 2021 season at a third German cruise port, Hamburg, with AIDAmar on Jul 31st.

Royal Caribbean:  Two young unvaccinated passengers on a Royal Caribbean International cruise out of the Bahamas tested positive for the coronavirus.  The passengers, who were younger than 16 and traveling in the same group, left the Adventure of the Seas before the end of the cruise on Thursday in Freeport with their companions. They returned home to Florida on a private flight arranged by the cruise company.

Single Travel:  Solo cruising is about to get a major upgrade on Atlas Ocean Voyages. The cruise line just unveiled its first Solo Suites – 183-square-foot escapes that travelers won’t have to pay extra for to get all to themselves. Each suite comes with a queen-sized bed, television, desk, mini fridge, and en suite bathroom featuring a rainfall shower. Most suites also have balconies from which to enjoy the expansive ocean views.

Sat Jun 26th US CruisingWhen the Celebrity Edge departs Port Everglades today, it will mark the first revenue cruise with paying passengers on a large cruise ship sailing from a U.S. port in more than 15 months.   

Yes, it is all resuming – normalcy and step by step, cruise line by cruise line, ship by ship – bon voyage to all!

Out of the old shoebox:  A Saturday afternoon sailing from New York’s Pier 95 for the very popular Queen of Bermuda.  

D:\Bill\Pictures\Blue Water color\Blue Water color\New York Harbor Queen of Bermuda.jpg

Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places! 



From Bill Miller

June 13-19th 2021

Sun Jun 13th  Liverpool:  Our good friend Alva James was on hand for the departure on Jun 6th of the first UK cruise in sixteen months..  Below is the MSC Virtuosa, which at 181,000 tons might just be the largest passenger ship ever to visit the famed port of Liverpool.   It certainly surpasses the 45,000-ton Aquitania of more than a century ago.

Carnival is among nearly a dozen cruise lines adding new exterior color schemes to their ships as cruising restarts.   Others making changes include Princess, P&O, Marella & Silversea.

MSC Cruises confirmed that while the Government had canceled a stop last week  at Greenock, but said they hoped cruise calls in Scotland can commence soon. Instead, the MSC Virtuosa extended its stay in Liverpool for a second day. Other cruise lines had also planned to cruise from Scotland as part of the summer restart of domestic cruising for UK passengers.


Above:   Onboard the Viking Sea

Mon Jun 14th Nassau:  Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas (below) departed last Sat  on her first cruise from Nassau (to Mexico & Coco Cay).  Vaccinations, temperature checks & other Covid era formalities were in full force.   

Tue Jun 15th  Resumption:  Almost all cruise lines now have fixed dates for a return to cruising.   UK-based Saga Cruises, as an example, is returning shortly:   the  Spirit of Discovery on June 27th.  the Spirit of Adventure on July 26th.  

Wed Jun 16th  Royal Caribbean postponed the inaugural sailing of its  Odyssey of the Seas after eight vaccinated crew members tested positive for Covid-19.

Cunard:  Due to the ongoing complexities of navigating global travel, Cunard has today announced that they will be cancelling the following voyages:  Queen Elizabeth’s sailings from the UK to Australia and her homeport season in Australia from Oct 18, 2021 up to and including Mar 9, 2022.  World Voyages on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in 2022 are now cancelled. Queen Victoria’s sailings from Sep 10, 2021 up to and including Apr 29, 2022 are now cancelled.  

D:\Bill\Pictures\Tony113\May 20 2021\Ships B & W  Done\Ships Color Done\Doric sailing from NYC.jpg

Above:   The Doric as seen arriving at New York from the QE2 

Thu Jun 17th Royal Caribbean has won approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a so-called “test cruise” with its record-setting, 5,518-passenger Symphony of the Seas out of PortMiami starting Aug 1st.  It was also revealed that a second giant Royal Caribbean vessel, the 5,484-passenger Allure of the Seas, also had gotten CDC approval to operate a test cruise out of Port Canaveral, Florida, starting July 27th.

Florida:  More than three-quarters of Floridians in a poll released Wednesday disagree with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ policy banning cruise lines from requiring passengers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The survey, conducted by the University of South Florida School of Public Affairs, found just 24% said cruise lines should not be allowed to require guests to show proof of vaccination — which is Gov. Ron DeSantis’ position.

Princess:  Following collaboration with government officials, and evolving guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Princess is announcing its intent to return to service in the United States sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ft. Lauderdale this fall.  Starting between Sep 25 and Nov 28, 2021, cruises onboard eight Princess ships will once again take guests to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, and the California Coast. 


Above:   The Azura of P&O Cruises at Antigua

Fri Jun 18th The State of Florida has prevailed in its injunction against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift the Conditional Sail Order (CSO) that has been restricting the cruise industry since Oct 2020. A court essentially ruled in favor of Florida that the CSO exceeds the CDC’s “statutory and regulatory authority.”

E:\My Pictures\Black Watch.jpg

Above:   Fred Olsen Lines’ Black Watch

Sat Jun 19th Staff & Crew:  Employees of AIDA, Norwegian Cruise Line and Marella Cruises, and other major cruise lines have said on the grounds of anonymity that they have largely not been allowed to leave the cruise ship they’re working on, with one crew member admitting that this left him feeling “pretty depressed.” Some crew interviewed asked not to identify their ships or employers.   An employee on the Norwegian Jade said he had one short leave in two months – and then only to be vaccinated.

Carnival Cruise Line announced last week it would continue it’s quick but staggered restart in the United States with more ships entering service in Aug.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lowered its cruise travel warning from Level 4 to Level 3, and specified the warning is now for “travelers who are not fully vaccinated.” The CDC said it recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.

Cunard:  The Queen Mary 2 will begin a refit in Sep prior to returning to service in mid-Nov.

Royal Caribbean International has confirmed its health and safety protocols for the Freedom of the Seas and its July sailings from Miami. The company said it strongly recommends that all guests 16 and older be fully vaccinated and that at check-in, guests will be asked to provide documentation of their vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Experience

  • Royal Caribbean said that vaccinated and unvaccinated guests are required to wear masks indoors unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
  • Masks are not required in a guest’s stateroom when they are with their traveling party, outdoors, or at Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless in a crowded setting. Guests under the age of 2 do not need to wear a mask.
  • Masks won’t be required for vaccinated guests when in venues (bars, lounges, restaurants and entertainment) or at events designated for vaccinated guests only.
  • In the coming days, the company said it is expecting updated guidance from the CDC on mask policies for vaccinated guests and may revise these protocols.
  • Venues will be set up with proper spacing and Royal Caribbean said it would ask guests to abide by physical distancing, especially when interacting with those outside of their traveling party.
  • SeaPass cards will be required to access lounges, shows and dining venues.
  • All dining venues will offer spaced seating. The company said it is “strong encouraging” guests to make dining reservations via Cruise Planner before the cruise or the Royal Caribbean app onboard.
  • In the Main Dining Room, the company said it will designate areas for vaccinated and unvaccinated reservations to dine separately.
  • My Time Dining will not be available to unvaccinated guests. In addition, while Windjammer will be open, the food will be served by the ship’s crew
  • Venues will offer spaced seating and more showtimes throughout the sailing. Select showtimes will be for vaccinated guests and others for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. More information will be provided onboard.
  • All guests are subject to restrictions and requirements as defined by local authorities in the ports the ship visits. “It is reasonable to expect that unvaccinated guests will be subject to stricter protocols than vaccinated guests,” the company said.

Out of the old shoebox:   

Above:  Crystal Symphony & MSC Orchestra at New York;       Below:   Bon voyage to the SS United States (1964) with Ocean Monarch, Queen of Bermuda & Michelangelo in the background


Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places!