LIVES OF THE LINERS: CRUISING & CRUISE SHIPS – JUNE 21, 2021
LIVES OF THE LINERS: CRUISING & CRUISE SHIPS – JUNE 21, 2021
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.
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.”
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!