from Bill Miller

Sep 19th 2020

Sun Sep 13th  Repatriation!    The cruise industry has returned home more than 250,000 seafarers from ships around the world over the past few months, including almost all cruise ships. However, an estimated 300,000  crew remain trapped worldwide, working beyond completion of their international contracts and mostly aboard cargo vessels.  One Mauritian crew member stuck in Brazil on an MSC ship commented: “We feel like hostages”.  

PHOTO: Luggage of MSC cruise ship workers who have gone on strike to request their repatriation are placed on the ship's deck, Sept., 2020.

Flash News from England:    From over in Dorset, our good friend Stephen Macey wrote:  “I saw Allure of the Seas & Anthem of the Seas in Poole Bay this morning and both looking rather lonely and sad!”

Bergen | Cruise Europe

Above:   Busy day at Bergen, Norway

Mon Sep 14th: On the Block!   Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan is going up for auction next month.   The 46,000-ton, 1985-built ship is the former Holiday of Carnival Cruise Lines.    A recent magazine article picked up on the sale and ran a headline:  “You too can own a former Carnival cruise ship!”

15 - BUÉK album - andy1108 képtára | Cunard ships, Cruise ship, Boats luxury
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Above:  Bygone cruising – arriving at Honolulu on Matson Line’s Lurline

Tue Sep 15th:   Update from NCL:  In their latest update, Norwegian Cruise Lines hopes to resume some US-based cruising in Nov.   The schedule includes a 7-night New York-Bermuda cruise aboard the Norwegian Encore, departing Nov 1st;   and a 13-night cruise to the Caribbean on Nov 9th but aboard the Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian Gem

Above:   Bygone times:  The Sun Princess in  Glacier Bay (1983).

Below:  The Carnival Fantasy being scrapped in Turkey.


Moving Forward!  MSC Cruises  announced that its second ship to return, the MSC Magnifica, will set sail on Oct 19th 2020 with a series of seven cruises including an eight-night Christmas cruise departing on Dec 18th from Genoa.


Off hours:  Free time for the crew (1966)

Wed Sep 16th:  Further Losses, Further Cuts!  Carnival Corp. projected an adjusted net loss of $1.7 billion in preliminary third quarter financial results and said 10 more ships will be leaving the fleet for a total of 18.  The 10 ships are yet to be revealed.


Above:  Maiden departure for the Normandie (1935)

Cruises, No Flights to Nowhere! Singapore Airlines is considering launching “no destination” flights next month in a unique way to offer travel-starved locals a way to experience flying again.  Local press in Singapore report the plans, in conjunction with the Singapore Tourism Board, will use the airline’s Airbus A350 aircraft. The domestic flights will take off from the country’s only major airport,  Singapore Changi,  and last around three hours before landing right back where they started. It’s not yet known which route around the island nation they might take.

Cruise Ship Marco Polo leaving the Port of Bergen Norway/ Marco Polo  verlässt Bergen - YouTube

Above:   The very popular Marco Polo

News & Update from Sweden:  Our good friend Capt Jimmy Sammuelsson reports:  “My ship  [the 58,000-ton, 2,800-passenger Silja Symphony and seen below] has been idle most of the time. During the summer when Swedes were allowed to travel freely within Sweden,  we started to do 2 and 3 night cruises to the medieval town of Visby on the island of Gotland. Sailing only with half capacity (1400 passengers) with the car deck used as a parking garage since we did not transport any cargo. Now we are laid up Sunday to Friday and do weekend cruises to the Northern coast of Sweden, also with 1400 passengers maximum. We have been fully booked on all cruises  and there is certainly a demand from the public to go travel. Sadly, however,  the Tallink Group (parent company of Silja Line where I work) as a whole is, like most companies within the leisure industry, at a rather critical state and depend heavily on subsidies from the governments. So I have no idea how long we will be able to keep going?”

Silja Symphony ferry (TALLINK-SILJA LINE) | CruiseMapper

Change in Plans!  Illustrating the challenges to restart the cruise industry, MSC Cruises has announced a further delay in the return of its second large cruise ship to service. While highlighting the success for its first cruise ship that resumed sailing last month, MSC Cruises changed the program for its second ship.

MSC Cruises had planned to resume cruises in the eastern Mediterranean aboard its second cruise ship the MSC Magnifica sailing from the ports of Bari and Trieste, Italy. The MSC Magnifica was originally scheduled to begin cruises on Aug 29th,  offering seven-night cruises calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon, and Piraeus. Saying that passengers were canceling and that bookings had softened due to the introduction of additional testing measures for residents of Italy having traveled to Greece, MSC later delayed the start of her cruises until Sep 26th.

Genoa Targeting More Homeporting Business - Cruise Industry News | Cruise  News

Above:  4 big cruise ships at Genoa, Italy 

Thu Sep 17th  A Beginning!  Small-ship specialist SeaDream Yacht Club has become the first cruise company in the world to definitively say it will resume cruises in the Caribbean in the coming weeks. SeaDream said their 112-passenger SeaDream I would begin a series of 22 voyages out of Barbados to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, on Nov 7th — just over seven weeks from now.

Passengers from cruise ship disembark in Genoa - Republic World

Fri Sep 18th:  Further Delays!  UK-based P&O Cruises today confirmed an extension to its pause in operations, with all sailings cancelled until early 2021.  All Caribbean cruises are cancelled until the end of January 2021 and all cruises from and to Southampton are cancelled through February as well as Arcadia and Aurora, which have already been cancelled through to the end of their spring world cruises.


Extension!  Carnival Cruise Lines announced cancellation of all cruises now through winter 2021.   Several other cruise lines are now predicting a spring 2021 restart.  

Sat Sep 19th   “Nowhere” is an Exciting Destination!  Australian air carrier Qantas announced that a seven-hour scenic “flight to nowhere,” which will take off and land at the same airport amid interstate travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, sold out in 10 minutes!


Above:   “Yes, even here under the sea, we read Bill Miller’s weekly cruise & corona  news – page after page!  Each week, his updates keep us posted & up to date.  And then there’s his quarterly Millergram.  And then for something bigger & better, we just swim over to the local undersea library for shelves of Bill Miller books!”


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Cruising on Cunard’s Mauretania in 1955

Continued best thanks to our friends, readers, reporters & those faraway “secret agents”