Cruise News Update: April 16, 2022

Weekly cruise news update across the major cruise lines with multiple sailings canceled, testing fees, and the latest on Mardi Gras.

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We’ve got another busy cruise news update this Eastern weekend covering all the major stories from the past week, including many cancellations from different cruise lines.

Cruise News Update

Even though it’s Easter weekend, that doesn’t stop all the cruise news! We’ve got plenty of developments for you across the major cruise lines, including some breaking Carnival news just in, which we will get to later.

First, there are cancellations from three cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Line restarts cruising in Hawaii, testing fee changes by Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Magic assists in a rescue operation, and the situation with the Mardi Gras.

Pride of America Resumes in Hawaii

Pride of America officially welcomed passengers back aboard on Saturday, April 9, with its first departure for a 7-night inter-island sailing, exploring multiple ports of call and featuring two days at sea. The ship is offering weekly sailings from Honolulu, departing every Saturday through December 2025.

During these first sailings as the vessel resumes, the ship will have limited capacity and fewer dining options due to fewer crew members on board.

Pride of America Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock

There is no timeline available for when full service may resume, but it will likely depend on how and when local restrictions may be eased further. The 80,439-gross ton Pride of America has a guest capacity of 2,186 at double occupancy, with 927 crew members.

Pride of America‘s return marks the fifteenth Norwegian Cruise Line ship to return to service following the pandemic-related, industry-wide global shutdown. Norwegian Jade was the first of the line’s vessels to restart when she set sail from Athens, Greece, in July 2021.

Sapphire Princess Sailings Canceled

Princess Cruises has announced that it has canceled 11 sailings for the Sapphire Princess this summer out of Los Angeles, California. There will be a total of 11 cruises canceled, ranging from seven- to 16-day itineraries from June 25 to September 17, 2022.

It does now mean that the ship will have to remain on hold even longer since suspending guest operations more than two years ago. Sapphire Princess will return to service on September 24, 2022. The first voyage will be a 10-night itinerary from the Port of Los Angeles, including ports of call in Mexico.

Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: ODEGOVA / Shutterstock

Princess Cruises is providing some options for guests who were booked on the impacted voyages. Guests can rebook on any 2022 cruise and receive onboard credit. The onboard credit will be $100 per person for those in an interior or oceanview stateroom.

For guests booked in a balcony stateroom, the credit will be $200 per person, and then for a suite, the credit will be $300 per person. The credit only applies to the first and second person only.

It will be a massive disappointment to guests as the Sapphire Princess was initially scheduled to return to service on June 25, 2022. In February 2022, the cruise line announced the vessel would offer 16 cruises, ranging from four to 16-days, including a five-day getaway for the July 4th holiday.

Celebrity Solstice Season Canceled

Because of ongoing regional uncertainties and potential travel restrictions, Celebrity Cruises has decided to cancel the 2022-23 Asia deployment for Celebrity Solstice, including all sailings from September 16, 2022, through April 21, 2023.

During the period in question, Celebrity Solstice was to have been sailing to a variety of destinations throughout Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and The Philippines. A total of 18 cruises have been canceled, ranging from 10-16 nights.

This is in line with other cruise lines’ recent cancelations, including Royal Caribbean International moving Voyager of the Seas from the Asia-Pacific region to North America and Europe, areas that have been faster to resume passenger cruise operations with fewer restrictions.

Celebrity Cruises Ship
Photo Credit: Dmitrii Rud / Shutterstock

Guests whose cruises are now canceled have two options. Celebrity Cruises is offering a “Lift and Shift” alternative to rebook on a similar Asia sailing aboard Celebrity Solstice or Celebrity Millennium for the 2023-2024 season.

Instead of sailing in Asia, Celebrity Solstice will instead be repositioned to the Mexican Riviera. In doing so, the Solstice-class cruise ship will replace the slightly smaller Millennium-class Celebrity Millennium, taking over that ship’s 7- and 8-night itineraries through December 11, 2022.

With this replacement, Celebrity Millennium will reposition to the Caribbean for the popular winter season in that region, bringing more cruise options to guests eager for a warm weather getaway.

Mariner of the Seas Cruises Canceled

Royal Caribbean has communicated to guests that many sailings for Mariner of the Seas from May 2023 through October 2023 have been canceled.

This is due to itinerary adjustments that have shifted the dates the ship will be setting sail, though the vessel will still be offering cruises during that time.

During the six-month period from May to October 2023, Mariner of the Seas was to have been offering a range of 5- and 8-night sailings from Port Canaveral.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

These Southern and Eastern Caribbean itineraries included popular ports throughout the region, such as Cozumel, Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, Aruba, Curacao, and more. Royal Caribbean’s private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, was also featured in many of the affected itineraries.

Now, while the Voyager-class ship will still be sailing from Port Canaveral during this period, the itineraries have been shifted to new departure dates.

Guests on the now-canceled sailings have several options to choose from. The first choice is to shift their booking to an alternate sailing within one week, before or after, the original sailing date. Guests who choose this rebooking option must do so no later than April 27, 2022.

Another choice is to rebook on any upcoming Royal Caribbean sailing, on any ship and any itinerary, with no change fees. Guests will, however, be responsible for any difference in the fare. Finally, guests can also opt for a full refund of their cruise fare paid.

Carnival Cruise Line Changes Testing Fee

On April 12, Carnival Cruise Line made a minor change to its protocols, impacting only a small number of guests. However, the change is vital for those guests to know and related to testing fees for the younger unvaccinated guests.

The testing fee for unvaccinated children aged 5-11 has been lowered to $60. Previously, the charge for guests aged 5 and above was $150. Any fees will be charged to the guest’s Sail & Sign account.

For unvaccinated guests aged 12 and older, the fee will continue to be $150 per person. When it comes to those aged 2-4, complimentary testing will now be provided. Previously, for guests aged 2-4, the fee would cost $60.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Miami
Photo Credit: Ramunas Bruzas / Shutterstock

Those guests who applied for a vaccination exemption or are traveling with a child aged 11 or under were also sent a letter detailing the changes. The letter also includes important requirements for testing and shore excursions on sailings through December 31, 2022.

Carnival Cruise Line is still following guidelines in accordance with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that unvaccinated guests aged two and above will have to take a pre-cruise PCR test, along with an antigen test at the terminal during embarkation.

There will also be the need for an antigen test 24 hours before debarkations on cruises longer than four days.

It is always important to make sure to keep checking the cruise line’s Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols, especially if you have an upcoming cruise.

Carnival Magic to the Rescue

Carnival Magic responded to a distress call off the Florida coast early in the morning of Saturday, April 9, relaying messages to rescue a man stranded in a disabled sailboat. The ship acted quickly and the man was safely rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The man was stranded approximately 69 miles off the coast of Port Canaveral as his sailboat was disabled. The nature of the boat’s malfunction was not immediately noted, but there were no injuries or dangerous situations reported.

Carnival Magic Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: lazyllama / Shutterstock

Carnival Magic picked up the man’s distress call at approximately 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, as the cruise ship was en route back to Port Canaveral at the end of its cruise. The crew responded and immediately notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

A Jayhawk from the USCG Air Station in Clearwater, Florida was dispatched to rescue the man. The rescue was successfully carried out, and the cruise ship returned to port with no delay to its planned arrival.

The 128,048-gross ton, Dream-class Carnival Magic was finishing a 6-night Eastern Caribbean sailing when the distress call was received. The cruise ship, which is homeported at Port Canaveral, had departed April 3, with ports of call in Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Puerto Plata, and was returning to Port Canaveral at the time.

Passenger Overboard Mardi Gras

And finally, we are very sad to report that a man went overboard the Mardi Gras cruise ship in the early hours of Saturday. The flagship, operated by Carnival Cruise Line was sailing back towards its homeport of Port Canaveral in Florida when the overboard occurred.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The cruise line did confirm to Cruise Hive that the male guest had jumped. The ship was coming to the end of a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise. The ship has already arrived back home and is now at Terminal 3 at Port Canaveral. Our thoughts go out to the man’s family and friends during this very difficult time.

More Cruise Headlines

It was just another busy week in the cruise industry, we’ve got all the full coverage, including cancellations for the new Margaritaville at Sea cruise line, extended protocols through June 30 for Royal Caribbean US cruises, the Cayman Islands to lift cruise ship capacity restrictions, Voyager of the Seas returns to service in Europe, Disney Cruise Line releases protocols for European sailings and more.

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