Carnival Cruises will be an even longer wait now that the line has announced it will further postpone voyages. The message comes just days after competitor Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line did the same with their own suspension. Carnival Cruise Line has now extended its pause on U.S. departures through April 30, 2021, and canceled Australian operations through May 19, 2021.
The ongoing uncertainty and a general lack of instructions on how to proceed regarding the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order framework, along with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading ever faster due to fast-spreading virus mutations, leave the company no choice but to postpone voyages even further.
European Situation Affects Mardi Gras
The cancellation of these voyages means that we won’t see Mardi Gras‘ maiden voyage until the newly scheduled inaugural voyage date of May 29, 2021. Nor will Carnival Legend be doing any cruises in Europe until October 31, 2021.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, said:
“Our guests and travel agent partners continue to express their loyalty to Carnival and their desire to get back on our ships as soon as they can, and we are heartened by the booking demand and activity we continue to see.”
“We are certainly committed to welcoming them back as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, we have determined it’s going to take a while longer, and the situation in Europe will also impact Mardi Gras’ departure to the US and Carnival Legend’s itineraries in Europe.”
CDC Will Need to Relay Information
Cruises will not be heading out to sea from U.S. ports as long as the CDC does not provide the cruise lines with a clear directive on how to proceed. The initial stages of measures cruise lines will have to take include test sailings.
When asked by a financial analyst why these test cruises had not taken place yet, the Carnival Corporation President and CEO Donald Arnold had the following to say:
“To answer your question about specific timing on a test cruise, yes, we would be waiting. But obviously, we’re doing a lot of things. We’ve started to bring ships back into the US and are meeting the criteria put out there to be in a position to then subsequently do test cruises. But to give you a specific timing on the test cruises, we would need additional guidance from the CDC.”
Therefore, it seems the entire cruise industry in the United States is waiting for the CDC to follow up and provide clarity on the guidelines they already announced in October 2020. It doesn’t stop with only the test cruises though, and cruise lines have many other factors to consider.
Thousands of crew members need to be brought back to the ships. This needs to be done safely and in accordance with the CDC and health guidelines from other countries as well. Ships need to have a green status for this to happen.
How guests and crew are protected onboard is of enormous importance. Protocols need to be refined, covering many different aspects of the cruise vacation experience before even embarking on the ship.
So When Will Ships Sail?
The best estimates for sailing dates come from the Carnival website itself. It is important to note, however, that these are estimates only, as these dates have been extremely fluid over the last year and additional changes are likely.
- Carnival Panorama – May 1, 2021
- Mardi Gras – May 29, 2021
- Carnival Horizon – May 9, 2021
- Carnival Radiance – November 5
- Carnival Sunrise – May 13, 2021
- Carnival Miracle – April 28, 2022
- Carnival Vista – May 8, 2021
- Carnival Magic – November 6, 2021
- Carnival Breeze – May 5, 2021
- Carnival Freedom – May 4, 2021
- Carnival Legend – October 31, 2021
- Carnival Paradise – November 1, 2021
- Carnival Elation – May 6, 2021
- Carnival Sunshine – May 6, 2021
- Carnival Dream – May 16, 2021
- Carnival Glory – May 2, 2021
- Carnival Valor – November 1, 2021
- Carnival Liberty – May 7, 2021
- Carnival Sensation – May 6, 2021
- Carnival Conquest – May 7, 2021
- Carnival Ecstasy – May 13, 2021
- Carnival Pride – May 2, 2021
- Carnival Spirit – Unknown, 2021
- Carnival Splendor – May 27, 2021
For now, the wait continues. Hopefully, at some point, we can finally bring you some positive news when it comes to a cruise on board one of the Carnival Cruise ships!