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From Bill Miller

May 2021

Thu May 27th  Royal Caribbean International has received CDC approval to conduct a simulated voyage with volunteers from June 20 to 22 aboard the Freedom of the Seas under the Conditional Sailing Order.

Hong Kong:  The cruise industry is back in Hong Kong as the local government has approved cruises to nowhere starting in July.  Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International are expected to operate from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, with other lines also poised to soon make announcements.

Regent Seven Seas:  With their Seven Seas Splendor already announced to return in September, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced today its resumption of sailing plan for the rest of its fleet, which will see all five ships back by Feb 2022.

Oceania:  Things to resume, to bubble!  Oceania Cruises announced that it will resume cruise operations with three additional ships, the Riviera, Insignia and Sirena, between October 2021 and January 2022.

Fri May 28th Recap!  Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the worldwide cruise industry has lost a staggering $77 billion.  In addition, 160,000 jobs were lost.   But on the bright side, in a recent survey 2 out of 3 previous cruise passengers reported that they will return to cruising.

Royal Caribbean has axed, so we’ve heard, its temporary cruise program out of Bermuda. 

Celebrity:   The first!  Yesterday, the Celebrity Edge  received approval from the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to return to service from Fort Lauderdale on Jun 26th, making it the first ship scheduled to sail out of an American homeport since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  The ship will require U.S. passengers over 16 to be fully vaccinated, with the requirement adjusting to guests 12 and older on August 1, 2021. The crew will be fully vaccinated, and it will be captained by Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain.  The Celebrity Edge (below) will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. 

Carnival has indicated that while it will resume cruising from other US ports, it will not return to New York until as far off as Jun 2022.   The Carnival Magic will then begin to make sailings from the Big Apple.

Norwegian Cruise Lines will resume cruising from New York in late Oct with a series of Bermuda & Bahamas itineraries.

Viking has yanked their Viking Star from fall NY-Montreal cruising and instead sent the ship off to Malta for a series of western Med cruises.

Sat May 29th Restart!  It’s official: It’s going to take many, many months for Norwegian Cruise Line to get all of its ships back into operation. Ditto for Norwegian’s two sister lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The three cruise brands on Wednesday announced restart plans for more than half of their collective fleets with restart dates for ships that still are five to nine months away.  The restart plans covered eight of Norwegian’s 17 ships, three of Oceania’s six ships and four of Regent’s five ships. The earliest restart date announced for any of the vessels was Oct 16th. But some of the vessels won’t be back in operation until February of 2022.

Some of the world’s biggest cruise lines in recent days have finally begun announcing concrete plans to restart sailings out of U.S. ports. Celebrity Cruises, for instance, on Wednesday said it would resume cruises out of Fort Lauderdale on Jun 26th. And the world’s largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean, said on Friday that it would begin cruises to Alaska out of Seattle on Jul 19th. Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America and Carnival Cruise Line also have begun announcing restart plans. Still, even as they gear up for a U.S. restart, cruise lines are saying they only will operate a few ships out of U.S. ports at first. The plan — at least for now — is to bring additional ships into operation gradually over many months.

Sat May 29th Carnival Corporation today received U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) acceptance of its Phase 2A Port Agreements for PortMiami, Port of Galveston and Port Canaveral – all key homeports for Carnival Cruise Line and the first three homeports that Carnival is focusing on for its return to guest operations this summer, according to a press release.  Carnival has already announced that the Carnival Horizon (sailing from Miami) and Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze (sailing from Galveston) will be the first ships to carry guests as the line plans its July return to service.  Port Canaveral has also been identified as a restart priority, and Carnival expects to announce plans for operations from there over the coming days, the company said. 

Hamburg will again welcome cruise ships this summer as the German city is opening to tourism. TUI Cruises announced it will sail from Hamburg on Jun 11th with the Mein Schiff 6, offering short cruises with no port calls. To start, the German brand will offer three- and four-day scenic cruises, and hopes to rotate in ports at a later date. Carnival  brand AIDA Cruises also confirmed that it will base a ship in Hamburg starting in July with more details to follow soon.

Travel:   Record weekend travel numbers are being recorded in the United States — and almost all current short cruises from the UK are sold out. There’s heavy bookings for Med cruises on Viking, Costa & MSC.   Viking has just had to add a third ship for western Med itineraries from Malta.  

Weekend Update:  In this 3-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, 37 million Americans are traveling, which is up 60% from a year ago.   Alone, some 2 million travelers passed through airports on Friday and major airlines are reporting flights at 80-90% capacity.  With Covid cases now down by 70%, it is all part of what is being called “The Come Back”.

New York:  As a close, one of our top agents reports that the “buzz” around New York harbor is that Norwegian Cruise Lines will resume sailings from Manhattan on Oct 21st or 22nd, Royal Caribbean in March 2022 and Carnival in June ’22.

Canada:   It does seem that Canadian East Coast ports will  reopen for autumn cruises.   But then, things are changing so quickly – and, of course,  one should never say never!  Below:   The mighty Royal Princess anchored off Bar Harbor, Maine.  


Out of the old shoebox:   

Above:  The arriving Crystal Serenity meets the Crystal Symphony at Turks & Caicos (Nov 2016);       Below:   The classic Cristoforo Colombo makes a Sat afternoon departure – with the Franconia in the background and the Cunard freighter Servia to the left (May 1968)

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Thank you to all our readers, correspondents, those “agents” in faraway places!