Cruise News Update: April 10, 2022

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Your cruise news update with some of the biggest stories from the week. We’ve got major milestones for future cruise ships and price rises as the cruise industry is in demand with strong bookings.

Cruise News Update

It has just been another busy week of cruising, not just with news, but also with many cruise ships now back sailing. We’ve got updates on two future Royal Caribbean cruise ships that have reached major construction milestones, price hikes by Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises taking delivery of its newest ship, the first cruise ship returning to Canada, and another cruise cancellation for the ship that ran aground in March 2022.

Carnival Cruise Line Raises Prices

Along with the upcoming increase in per-passenger gratuities, Carnival Cruise Line has recently announced other increases for onboard services. Let’s just hope it’s not a new trend across all the major cruise lines.

The per person, per day gratuity rates for Carnival cruisers will be increasing for all voyages setting sail on or after May 1. In an April 4 email sent to guests booked on upcoming voyages, the company stated that for voyages from May 1 and onward, gratuities would be $14.50 for standard staterooms, and $16.50 for suites.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

These increases, however, are not the only rising costs guests will soon see on Carnival cruises. Effective May 1, 2022, the Cheers! package price will rise to $59.95 per person per day when purchased before sailing, and $64.95 per person per day when purchased onboard.

The Bottomless Bubbles package will increase up to $9.50 depending on the guest’s age, there will be multiple specialty restaurant price increases including for the steakhouse, Bonsai Teppanyaki and Rudi’s Seagrill.

The wifi packages are also being increased with the Social plan increasing to $8.50 per day when pre-purchased, and the Value plan increasing to $11.05 when pre-purchased.

Celebrity Beyond Delivered

Celebrity Cruises has officially taken delivery of the new Celebrity Beyond. During the April 6, 2022, ceremony, Celebrity Cruises took delivery of the third and most luxurious ship in the fleet’s Edge-class of vessels.

Celebrity Cruises’ President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo was joined by Royal Caribbean Group’s President and CEO Jason Liberty and the ship’s captain, Kate McCue, as they officially took ownership from the shipyard.

Celebrity Beyond Delivery
Photo Credit: Steve Dunlop / Celebrity Cruises

The event included the traditional changing of the flags and a celebratory ceremony onboard Celebrity Beyond while docked in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The delivery of Celebrity Beyond is the first in person, physical delivery event handing off a new ship from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard to any cruise line since the industry shutdown began in March 2020.

Celebrity Beyond is the largest ship ever constructed for Celebrity Cruises, weighing in at 140,600 gross tons and measuring 1,073 feet long and 128 feet wide. The ship has a double occupancy capacity of 3,260 guests, with more than 1,400 crew members to provide outstanding, luxury service.

The ship’s maiden voyage will depart Southampton, England, on April 27, for a 10-night Western Europe cruise visiting top European ports including Bordeaux, Lisbon, Seville, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona.

Icon of the Seas Reaches Construction Milestone

The next generation of ships for Royal Caribbean International is officially underway and has reached a major milestone as the keel has been laid for Icon of the Seas.

The ceremony, which marks the beginning of the ship’s physical assembly, took place at the Meyer Turku shipyard in southern Finland, on April 5, 2022.

The keel-laying ceremony includes the maritime tradition of placing a massive steel block into the building-dock on top of freshly minted coins, which represent the shipyard and cruise line.

The ship’s physical construction began 10 months ago, in June 2021, with the first steel cut for the vessel. The keel-laying is another critical milestone in the construction, right on time as the ship makes progress toward completion.

Icon of the Seas Keel Laying Ceremony
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Icon of the Seas was first announced in 2016, under the code name “Project Icon.” Scheduled to debut in the fall of 2023, the namesake of the new class is the first of three Icon-class ships already ordered by Royal Caribbean International.

Two sister ships, both of which will also be LNG-powered, have been tentatively scheduled for 2025 and 2026, though no further updates have been made about those upcoming vessels.

Icon of the Seas is anticipated to be one of the largest cruise ships in the world, weighing in at roughly 200,000 gross tons and with a projected guest capacity of approximately 5,650 passengers at double occupancy.

Construction Begins on Utopia of the Seas

Royal Caribbean and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, officially kicked off the start of construction of what we now know as Utopia of the Seas. She will eventually become the largest cruise ship in the world.

The sixth Oasis-class ship will be somewhat different than her five sister ships due to being powered by LNG.

There was an official steel-cutting ceremony at the shipyard attended by representatives from Royal Caribbean and Chantiers de l’Atlantique. The construction phase will likely take around 30 months, with a projected completion date in the spring of 2024.

Utopia of the Seas will use the cleanest fossil fuel available to cruise ships today, LNG. Additional environmentally friendly applications onboard Utopia, such as fuel cell technology and shore power capabilities, will boost energy efficiencies and reduce emissions.

Utopia of the Seas Steel Cutting Ceremony
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

The official stats are yet to be revealed, but Utopia of the Seas could be as large as 250,000 gross tons. Royal Caribbean will be releasing ship features and itineraries at later dates.

First Cruise Ship Returns to Canada

This weekend is a long-awaited step in the international cruising restart, as Holland America Line becomes the first cruise line to call on Canada and return to a Canadian homeport in more than two years.

Koningsdam visited Victoria, British Columbia, as a port of call on Saturday, April 9, before moving to the Port of Vancouver on Sunday, where the ship will be homeported for the summer Alaska season.

The Pinnacle-class Koningsdam, which can host 2,650 passengers at double occupancy, now has the honor of being the first ship with passengers to call on Canada since the industry-wide shutdown began in March 2020.

Photo Credit: Holland America Line

That honor was to have belonged to Caribbean Princess from Princess Cruises, which was originally scheduled to dock in Vancouver on April 7. That ship’s sailing was shortened and passengers were instead debarked in San Francisco on April 3 to prepare the ship for dry dock operations.

Koningsdam is only the first of six Holland America Line ships scheduled for Alaskan itineraries this year, with two additional ships scheduled for New England and Canada voyages.

The six ships will make a combined 45 calls at Victoria and bring nearly 75,000 guests to the port. A total of 76 Holland America Line cruises will begin or end at Vancouver during 2022, bringing approximately 140,000 guests back to the region for spectacular, bucket list cruising.

In total for 2022, Holland America Line will be operating 141 cruises in Canada with more than 250,000 guests visiting both coasts.

Another Norwegian Escape Cruise Canceled

Yet another 7-night sailing has been canceled for Norwegian Escape as the ship continues to undergo repairs due to having run aground in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on March 14. Including the cruise that was shortened due to the incident, this makes five cruises that have been canceled for the vessel.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock

Booked guests and travel partners received notification on April 4 that the planned April 9 departure of Norwegian Escape will not be possible, as repairs on the vessel are not yet complete.

Norwegian Escape was to have sailed from Port Canaveral to Cozumel, Mexico; Ohio Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas.

The ship only has one more 7-night departure planned from Port Canaveral, scheduled for April 16. After that, the ship is scheduled to depart for New York and then on to Rome for the summer and fall seasons in the Mediterranean.

Seven P&O Arcadia Sailings Canceled

In an email sent to booked guests, P&O Cruises has announced the cancellation of seven sailings of Arcadia, in order to reassign crew members to other vessels due to COVID-19 cases impacting crew availability. Though the ship only restarted passenger operations 13 days ago, all sailings until July 5 have been canceled.

The current sailing is not impacted by the cancelations, but future voyages through the planned June 23 departure will no longer take place.

The canceled sailings range from 3-19 day itineraries, with “Short Break” cruises as well as Baltic, Norwegian Fjord, and Mediterranean sailings.

The cancelation is due to rising COVID numbers that are impacting crew members available to work, and therefore making it difficult for the cruise line to provide their signature exemplary service.

Guests booked on the now-canceled sailings are reporting that P&O Cruises is providing a full refund for the affected sailing, including any pre-paid shore tours.

More Cruise Headlines

It was a busy week of cruise news in the industry across the major cruise lines, including itinerary changes for four Carnival cruise ships, Costa Cruises resumes guest sailings from Genoa, a new digital art collection coming to the new Prima-class ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Sensation arrives at the scrapyard in Turkey, Carnival Glory repairs, and plenty more.

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