With all the constant developments across the cruise industry, here’s your cruise news update as the Alaska season begins, some ship changes, and face masks finally going away.
Cruise News Update
We’ve got all the major news from the past week for you and it has been a mixture, with new ships, ship changes, and of course the big talking point of the week with face masks going away after a court ruling. As a result, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have both made changes to their mask policy.
In other updates from this week, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship was hit in the Bahamas, itineraries were released for two Celebrity cruise ships, Norwegian Bliss sailing to Alaska out of Seattle, the newest Celebrity cruise ship arrives in the UK, Carnival Freedom begins cruises from Port Canaveral and MSC Seascape to be named in New York.
In This Article
Face Masks Going Away
It looks like face masks for cruisers are finally going away after a Florida judge ruled against the mask mandate at transportation hubs in the US. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Coast Guard have both reacted and said they will no longer enforce face masks at cruise terminals.
It does now mean that when guests are at a cruise terminal in the US, they no longer have to wear a face mask. It now falls in line with cruise line protocols onboard ships, with guests not having to wear a face mask in certain areas and at certain times, depending on the cruise line.
Carnival Cruise Line has also updated its face mask policy following the ruling and now says “Masks are highly recommended during the entire embarkation and debarkation process and while on public transportation in a U.S. port. Masks are required in the medical center.” It is also important to know that face masks may still be required at ports of call.
For Royal Caribbean, guests received an update on April 23 that it is also relaxing mask rules at the terminals it operates from. The cruise line said, “Due to recent changes in mask guidance, we’ve updated our mask policy, effective immediately, for all of our sailings where we’ve announced protocols, excluding Singapore departures.“
Royal Caribbean continued with, “Masks are optional for vaccinated guests and recommended for unvaccinated children while onboard. In our terminals, masks are optional unless required by local regulation. Some destinations we visit may require masks. Guests under 2 years old don’t need to wear a mask. These protocols are subject to change.“
Mariner of the Seas Hit by Cargo Ship
Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was involved in an accident on April 20 as the vessel was struck by a cargo ship in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, in The Bahamas.
The 3,800 gross ton Tropic Freedom cargo ship hit the Royal Caribbean cruise ship causing minimal damage to both vessels. The Cargo vessel lodged itself into the Mariner of the Seas but was freed not long after. Tropic Freedom apparently hit the pier at speed first and then hit the much larger cruise ship. No injuries were reported.
The good news is that Royal Caribbean confirmed the damage was minimal and the remainder of the voyage would go ahead as planned. Mariner of the Seas is sailing a four-night cruise that departed Port Canaveral on April 19. In addition to Freeport, the vessel also visited Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Itineraries for Two Redeployed Celebrity Ships
After canceling 18 voyages in Asia for Celebrity Solstice and announcing it would be redeployed to replace Celebrity Millennium in the Mexican Riviera, Celebrity Cruises has now announced itineraries for the two cruise ships.
For Celebrity Solstice, this includes five-, seven-, and eight-night itineraries from its homeport in Los Angeles. There will be a series of seven-night itineraries sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, for Celebrity Millennium, which is shifting to the Caribbean.
Celebrity Solstice will set sail on a series of sailings to the Mexican Riviera from its new homeport, Los Angeles. Guests have the choice of five-, seven-, and eight-night itineraries from September 2022 through April 2023.
After she completes her summer season in Alaska, Celebrity Millennium, built in the year 2000 and recently renovated, will be sailing in the Caribbean sun. Starting in October this year through to December, these cruises will replace the voyages the ship was intended to sail on the Pacific coastline.
Norwegian Bliss Begins Alaska Season from Seattle
The Alaska cruise season from the Port of Seattle is finally underway as the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship departs on Saturday, April 23. The Norwegian Cruise Line operated ship will be departing from the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66.
“The Port of Seattle is excited to welcome cruise back to our region for the first full season since 2019,” said Steve Metruck, Port of Seattle Executive Director. “As we provide vital support for Seattle’s maritime, tourism, small business, and supplier sectors, we also are leading the industry in environmental excellence.”
Norwegian Bliss will is sailing a seven-night Alaska cruise, which includes visits to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victori in British Columbia before returning to Seattle on April 30.
The Port of Seattle is expecting 1.2 million revenue passengers and 296 ship calls for the cruise season. The cruise industry provides nearly $900 million in economic benefits supporting 5,500 jobs.
Celebrity Beyond Arrives in the UK
Just days before she will be sailing on her maiden voyage from Southampton, Celebrity Cruises’ newest cruise ship, Celebrity Beyond, arrived in Southampton in the UK.
Until that time, Captain Kate McCue and her crew members will be preparing her for the first guests and the upcoming ceremonies that will welcome one of the most spectacular ships in the world.
Celebrity Beyond will sail on her maiden voyage on April 27, 2022. the 10-night Western Europe cruise will visit Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca; and Barcelona, Spain.
The new Celebrity Cruises ship will spend the entire summer in Europe through Early October. Cruises on offer are nine-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Isles itineraries.
After her repositionings cruise to New York City, Celebrity Beyond will be based in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, through April 23, 2023.
The 140,600 gross ton vessel will also bring back the Magic Carpet, the elevated platform that sits cantilevered above the sea, offering some of the 3,260 guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner. Celebrity Beyond features a total of 32 food and drink venues.
Carnival Freedom Begins Sailings from Port Canaveral
Carnival Freedom arrived at Port Canaveral, Florida, on April 21 for the very first time. The Carnival cruise ship arrived to begin her inaugural sailing from the port out of Terminal 6. The vessel will homeport at Port Canaveral year-round.
To mark the historic event with the ship docking at the port, port executives presented Carnival Freedom Capt. Josip Mladina with a plaque commemorating the cruise ship’s first visit to Port Canaveral.
Carnival Freedom’s inaugural voyage from the port is a four-day Bahamas cruise, including calls at Nassau and Princess Cays, before returning home on Thursday, April 25.
The vessel will continue to offer four- and five-night itineraries to The Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean. Sailings include visits to Nassau, Princess Cays, Bimini, Freeport, Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Carnival’s private island of Half Moon Cay.
Carnival Freedom becomes the fourth ship in the fleet to be homeporting from Port Canaveral. The vessel joins Mardi Gras, Carnival Magic and Carnival Liberty.
MSC Seascape to be Christened in New York
MSC Seascape will officially be inaugurated into the fleet on Wednesday, December 7, in a star-studded event to rival any New York City extravaganza.
The celebration will be held at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, with local dignitaries, important partners, celebrities, and international artists in attendance for the occasion.
Academy Award-winning star Sophia Loren will carry out her role as godmother to her 18th MSC Cruises ship at the ceremony, which is sure to include both classic maritime traditions as well as New York glamor.
After her naming ceremony, MSC Seascape will set sail for the Caribbean, homeporting from Miami for her inaugural season. There, the ship will offer 7-night itineraries featuring both Eastern and Western Caribbean destinations.
The Seaside EVO-class MSC Seascape is the cruise line’s 20th vessel, and introduces new, innovative features to eager guests.
The ship includes the largest, most luxurious MSC Yacht Club in the fleet, as well as 11 dining venues, 19 bars and lounges, a 1,772-foot-long waterfront promenade, and the spectacular glass-floored Bridge of Sighs on deck 16.
More Cruise Headlines
It’s been another busy week in the cruise industry and we’ve got even more coverage that you might have missed including, Wonder of the Seas leaving Florida to begin her ingural season in Europe, protocols for cruises that visit Canada released by Carnival Cruise Line, more than 600,000 cruise passengers visited Cozumel in first three months of 2022, and the first cruise ship returned to Australia after the country finally reopened for cruises.