Skip to main content



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!