It’s been a busy few weeks for Carnival Cruise Line. The cruise line had to react to the CDC’s change in protocols, and has not just updated its testing requirements but also the need to make some clarifications with a follow-up update.
There have been two rescues at sea, and the company announced it had sailed with more than three million guests since the restart just over a year ago. Besides that, progress on continues on the two Excel-class cruise ships, and Carnival improving its internet bandwidth across the fleet.
New Testing Procedures For Short Cruises
Carnival Cruise Line reacted to the news that the CDC had dropped the voluntary program for cruise ships a few weeks ago, announcing new testing protocols that will be in place effective August 4. However, those new protocols quickly caused confusion for thousands of guests.
On July 29, Carnival announced it would not require testing for vaccinated guests on short cruises of 5 nights or less. A few days later, the cruise line clarified the situation, saying the no-testing protocols would not be valid on all cruises.
Voyages sailing to Bermuda, The Bahamas, or Grand Cayman are not included. These destinations still require cruise ships to test passengers before docking. The announcement was disappointing for many, with a huge variety of cruises sailing to these destinations.
Rescues At Sea
Two Carnival Cruise ships had to take action over the weekend when they spotted boats with refugees at sea. Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sunrise performed rescue operations when the ships spotted small boats with refugees in the Florida Straits.
While sailing back to her homeport, Miami, on July 29, Carnival Sunrise’s crew spotted a small boat with 12 refugees onboard adrift in the Florida Strait, the seaway between Florida and Cuba. The crew brought the twelve refugees onboard and informed the authorities.
On July 30, just a day after the Carnival Sunrise’s rescue, the Carnival Paradise spotted another small boat, overloaded with approximately 20 refugees, while sailing close to the Cuban coastline. Following maritime law, the vessel took the people aboard and notified the appropriate authorities.
With cruise itineraries cutting through the routes that refugees take from Cuba to the United States, it is not uncommon for these rescues to take place. In fact, in the last months, there have been a series of incidents where cruise ships were forced to make rescues at sea.
Already Three Million Guests
With more than 95,000 guests sailing onboard Carnival Cruise ships per week in the last 75 days, Carnival Cruise Line has already welcomed more than 3 million guests since the restart in July of 2021.
In May this year, the cruise line reached the two million mark, expanding on this number quickly to three million in July. With some ships sailing at 110% occupancy due to the Caribbean summer, the 23 ships sailing for the cruise line are certainly doing their share of bringing profitability back to Carnival.
With this many people sailing onboard, one thing is sure, the onboard systems, such as IT and connectivity, are being placed under additional strain, something Carnival is busy making upgrades to.
Major IT Upgrade
Carnival Cruise Line has been busy improving the onboard IT systems since it brought the last ships back to operations earlier this year. With ships at 110% occupancy, and nearly all guests using devices in one way or another, upgrades were necessary.
In the last months, the cruise line has improved bandwidth by nearly 50%, while ensuring that guests can stay connected throughout the vessels. Onboard all Carnival cruise ships, the company has been busy installing more WiFi access points and has brought in multiple satellite providers to remain flexible when usage spikes.
It means that guests can now stay connected with people at home while browsing the onboard activities and booking the spa, restaurants, shore excursions, and bar packages. With IT and connectivity becoming a global necessity, Carnival will also be investing in more tech advancements in the future.
News About New Ships
Carnival Cruise Line released some exciting news about the two vessels currently under construction in Germany and Finland.
Carnival President Christine Duffy was at the Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, to celebrate the keel-laying of the company’s third LNG-powered Excel-class cruise ship, Carnival Jubilee.
The vessel will begin operations from Galveston, Texas, in 2023. More than enough reason for Carnival’s president to celebrate the ceremony in true Texas style.
A few days later, Carnival announced some exciting new features for Carnival Celebration. The vessel will have the largest selection of shopping opportunities in the fleet. For the release of the sister ship to Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line will introduce several new selections while also bringing back the extremely popular 50th-anniversary gift items.