LIVES OF THE LINERS: CRUISING, CRUISE SHIPS & THE COVID PANDEMIC – April 4, 2021
LIVES OF THE LINERS: CRUISING, CRUISE SHIPS & THE COVID PANDEMIC – April 4, 2021
From Bill Miller
Sun Mar 28th Hiatus! During this long gap, many cruise lines are taking the opportunity for overhauls and refits. The Oosterdam & Eurodam are seen below at the Damen shipyard in Brest.
Beating the Scrappers: Change in plans: The 70,000-ton Satoshi has been saved from Indian scrap merchants and now seems to have been sold to a new startup cruise company. Having been arrested in Panama late last year, the 1991-built ship was recently released and arrived in Bar City in Montenegro last week, a port that has been commonly used for crew transfers and warm layups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship originally entered service as the Regal Princess in 1991, transferring to P&O Australia in 2007 for year-round service in the Australian market. She was built at Fincantieri and was originally ordered by Sitmar Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has a very diverse schedule of itineraries. But here’s one departing on Jan 2nd 2022 onboard the Norwegian Jade (below). The 12-night voyage begins at Cape Town and then touches several African ports: Mossel Bay (South Africa), Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Richard’s Bay (South Africa), Durban (South Africa), Luderitz (Namibia) and Walvis Bay (Namibia)
Mon Mar 29th: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shot down calls from the cruise industry to allow business to restart in July,
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is threatening to sue the federal government if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t allow cruises to restart by the summer.
The Italian Government has announced that it will be temporarily diverting the flow of large cruise ships from Venice to Marghera, a mainland industrial port across Venice.
Tue Mar 30th Around Britain cruises for the upcoming summer season are now also being offered by MSC Cruises, Celebrity and Saga (below). These voyages are for vaccinated UK citizens only.
Wed Mar 31st Oceania’s seventh ship will named Vista. And as with last week, the return of cruising is gaining momentum with Royal Caribbean Group adding two more ships in the Mediterranean, while further operators examine joining the UK coastal trades to English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Manx waters. The 30,000-ton ship is one of the R-Class from Renaissance Cruises and later sailed as the Pacific Princess.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a beef with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He says if the CDC doesn’t lift its “conditional sailing order” on cruise ships soon, allowing them to resume sailing out of U.S. ports this summer, his state will sue the government entity.
French News! Our good friend Philippe Brebant reported yesterday: MSC Virtuosa forced to leave St Nazaire to give room for the next to be launched Celebrity Beyond yesterday is now en route to Le Havre where she is due to arrive on April 2nd for more than one month lay up. She will sail then to Southampton where she is due to be based for summer time cruising around Britain instead of North Sea as previously planned from Kiel. She will become then the largest vessel operating out from Southampton at 181,548 tons and with total accommodation for 6,344 passengers. She will be also the largest ever to enter Le Havre. Another meeting has been cancelled today: We were waiting for Jewel of the Seas to switch a portion of crew to the newly delivered Odyssey of the Seas. But due to pandemic alerts onboard, this meeting has been cancelled. This Papenburg-built ship meeting will take place somewhere else instead.
Thu Apr 1st Royal Caribbean International has confirmed a summer 2021 cruising season in the UK on the Anthem of the Seas. Select key workers will have an opportunity to sail for free.
Lindblad Expeditions announced plans today to resume operations in June for the 2021 season in Alaska and Galápagos.
Japan: NYK Group has ordered a new 744-guest cruise ship from Meyer Werft for its Asuka Cruises brand, which currently operates the luxury Asuka II (ex-Crystal Harmony). The 51,950-ton ship will be delivered in 2025. NYK is the former owner of Crystal Cruises.
Fri Apr 2nd Carnival Corp: Like many others, Arnold Donald is missing cruises. “I’ll be on the first cruise ship I can get on as soon as restrictions lift!” says the Carnival Corporation president and CEO. “I can’t wait to feel the sea breeze and catch up with our amazing crew members to let them know how grateful we are for everything they have done, and continue to do, for our business and for our guests. I’m also excited to meet our guests and see the happy expressions on their faces as they enjoy our innovative ships and delight in the life-changing experiences we offer.”
It’s been a year since Donald was forced to halt all cruise operations across Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, P&O Australia, Princess Cruises and Seabourn brands due to the global Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Neither Donald nor anyone else in the cruise industry expected the virus to still be ravaging countries around the world after 12 months.
Cunard: From over in England, our “agent” Alan Parkhurst reports: The launch of Cunard’s Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages has driven the busiest booking day in the UK for a decade. Cunard’s Summer at Sea voyages onboard the Queen Elizabeth (below), sailing between July and October 2021, comprise scenic cruises along the UK coastline, voyages that include ports of call around Britain or those that simply sail to wherever the sun shines brightest. All are round-trip from Southampton.
“This record-breaking day follows a phenomenal response to our Centenary World Voyages, onboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria in 2023, which went on sale a few weeks ago. In perhaps an indication that guests are upgrading having not traveled for a while, suites onboard these voyages pretty well sold-out at the end of the first day of sales, with only one top suite remaining,” said Cunard President Simon Palethorpe. “We are delighted by this response from guests and particular thanks to all of our agent partners for their continued work supporting guest bookings. We’re really looking forward to welcoming guests back on board this summer.”
Below: The three Queens departing from Lisbon in spring 2015 as part of Cunard’s 175th celebrations.
Sat Apr 3rd Storylines has announced that it will build its new residence cruise ship concept, the MV Narrative (below), at the Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia. The ship features fully furnished residences ranging from 237 sq. ft. to 2411 sq. ft., priced from $300,000 to more than $8 million for a premium two-level penthouse suite. Owners and invited guests will have the opportunity to live a sustainable life of luxury and freedom while at sea. Owners have the option to make their unit available through the Storylines rental program.
Positioned as the greenest ship in the market, according to a press release, Storylines’ MV Narrative utilizes LNG fuel along with innovative reusable energy technologies and energy storage and recovery systems. The ship also includes a waterfront marina, microbrewery, art studio, hydroponic gardens, and more.
MSC Cruises has opened bookings for its new UK cruise holidays this summer with sailings from $550 pp including premium drinks, luxurious cabins, and heaps more. In fact all of the sailings will be offered on brand new flagship MSC Virtuosa, which boasts some swanky staterooms, a large top deck pool, and even a sci-fi themed bar complete with a robotic bartender.
Above: The mammoth MSC Virtuosa & the Ship’s Gallery
Out of that old shoebox: Very top: Sat afternoon departures – Home Lines’ Atlantic (left) and Oceanic (1982); Below: The brand new Queen Mary arriving in New York’s Lower Bay, June 1936
Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places!