from Bill Miller

Nov 29th 2020

Sun Nov 23rdIn the Mailbox:  From Down in Miami, our good friend Dr Larry Miller wrote:  thank you once again for an update on the cruise industry.  “I share your fond memories of the Astor.  I went on a four-day segment that was part of the maiden voyage.  Terribly rough weather in Biscay, but nice memories notwithstanding.  Otherwise, we were told yesterday that our “Voyage of the Vikings” summer transatlantic on the Zaandam scheduled for next July had been cancelled but rebooked for a year later [2022].”


Above:  Shota Rustavelli at Tripoli (1988)

More Pauses & Cancelations:  Princess Cruises it is pausing all cruising through Mar 31st 2021, and all cruises longer than seven days that sail in and out of U.S. ports through Nov 1st 2021. The cruise line explained that the decision was made in order to comply with the CDC’s recently issued “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” which bars cruise lines from offering any itinerary longer than seven days for any cruise that calls at a U.S. port.  In addition, the line said it would be extending the pause on cruises sailing to and from Japan through Jun 25th 2021, due to “uncertainty” over international travel restrictions.


Above:  Veendam at St Maarten (1983)

Mon Nov 23rd  Stiff & Stern Warning:  The Centers for Disease Control raised its warning for cruise ship travel to “Level 4: Very High Level of Covid-19” last night.

“The CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” the warning states.

Although not a blanket ban on cruising (the CDC lifted this in October), the warning is yet another hammer-blow for the industry, which is currently trying to implement the CDC’s 74-point framework for a healthy return to cruise.

As well as avoiding all cruise travel, the Level 4 warning states:

• Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.

• Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.

• If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel. 

The CDC’s warning is for US citizens only; in the UK the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has a warning against ocean cruising only.

Cruise ships ship breaking yard Turkey
Ship breaking cruise ships turkey

Scrapping at Aliaga

Tue Nov 24th  News from Carnival:  After long lay-up phases outside US waters, the Carnival Horizon is arriving in Miami this week with Carnival Breeze expected to be the next Carnival ship back.

British Airways:  Airlines are having very tough times too!  BA is selling off champagne flutes, crockery and blankets as it tries to generate cash flow amid the collapse in demand for air travel. Aviation enthusiasts can “create an authentic First Class flying experience at home” by purchasing the items.


Above:  The Mauretania seen in 1963

P&O Cruises:   Dave Smith reports P&O have just announced that they have suspended  all cruise sailings until April 2021.


Cruising on the Oronsay (1969)

Wed Nov 25th: Reduced Fares! Several different cruise lines, from mainstream up to luxury, have announced big Black Friday and Cyber Week sales.

News from Viking Ocean:  Viking announced today that it has hired Raquel C. Bono, M.D. as the company’s Chief Health Officer. A board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps, Dr. Bono most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a company statement. Dr. Bono will be instrumental in Viking’s restart of operations, with a focus on public health, Viking said. The company recently also announced capability to test onboard for COVID-19.


Getting ready!   Cruise and cruise-related companies are looking to the future, to the resumption of operations.  And even shipyards:   Fincantieri is planning a new venture:  a shipyard in Mexico. … MSC has signed a big, long-term deal with the port of Southampton over in England. … And speaking of Southampton, Dave Smith reported today:  “It has just been announced by ABP (Associated British Ports) owners of Southampton docks that they are building a 5th cruise terminal in the port costing £55 million and due to be opened 2021.”  … And to date no less than 120 new cruise ships are either in the works or on the planning boards.  … A group of Holland-America liners are rumored to be heading from lay-up in Europe to southern California, presumably for eventual resumption next spring of the Company’s all-important Alaska cruise season.  … MSC Cruises is well underway to start cruising in Japan in April after the cruise line received the Japanese health and safety certification from its official maritime classification society Class NK. … Germany’s AIDA Cruises today announced that it will offer Canary Island cruises starting from Dec 5th.  It begins with the AIDAperla, followed by the AIDAmar, which will start its winter season with a Christmas voyage on December 20th

C:\Users\B\Downloads\Luxury Liner Row 39.jpg

Busy Sat morning at New York in Feb 1939 – from the top:  Monarch of Bermuda, Fort Townshend, Conte di Savoia, Aquitania, Britannic, Normandie, De Grasse, Columbus, Bremen & Hamburg

News from ChinaChina Merchants Shekou officially inked a partnership agreement with Viking Cruises to develop cruise tourism in China, starting with the Viking Sun.  The 940-guest ship willl even change to Chinese registry & flag.

Fri Nov 27thGearing Up!  Ship Captains, start your engines! After a miserable 2020, the global cruise machine is slowly coming back to life, buoyed by positive news on the vaccine front. While there are hurdles yet to overcome, there’s a sense of optimism (sparked by vaccine announcements) that hasn’t been felt since the industry was essentially shut down in March.

Possible Return!   Partially owned by Royal Caribbean International, Spain’s Pullmanturs collapsed last summer and two of its ships, the Sovereign and Monarch, were quickly auctioned off to Turkish scrappers.   It left a hole in Mediterranean cruising, but especially in peak summer season (Dec-Apr) cruising in South America.  But today, there is news that the company may be revived and use two Millennium class ships, to be swung over from Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises division.  

Pullmantur Cruises - Tips 4 Crew

The Rotterdam at Pier 88, New York (Dec 1985)

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