Cruise News Update: August 20, 2022

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Cruise Hive has you covered with all the major cruise news from the past week as more cruise ease requirements for passengers, resulting in high bookings for Carnival, impressive numbers from one of the busiest cruise homeports in the US, and developments on new ships from Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.

Cruise News Update

A mixture of cruise news in the past week, and depending on the cruise line, it could be good or bad. In this week’s round-up, we’ve got further cruises canceled for the second Prima-class cruise ship, meaning the ship’s debut will be delayed again, more cruise lines are easing their requirements, but Disney, not as much as others.

There are also some impressive numbers coming from a major US homeport, bookings skyrocket for Carnival Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean takes us behind the scenes in building the new Icon of the Seas cruise ship.

More Norwegian Viva Sailings Canceled

Norwegian Cruise Line has begun notifying booked guests that its upcoming ship, Norwegian Viva, will not be able to make her initial sailings as planned in July and August, 2023, due to global supply chain constraints impacting industries worldwide, including the maritime industry.

Because of this, cruises from July 3 through August 17 are now canceled. While Norwegian Viva was floated out at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy as planned on August 2, 2022, this only indicates her exterior construction is complete.

The internal construction and outfitting of the ship will take months to complete, and with further supply chain delays, the ship will not be able to join the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet on time.

Norwegian Viva

This is the second delay for the second Prima-class ship. Norwegian Viva was previously scheduled to debut in mid-June, 2023, but her initial sailings were canceled earlier this summer.

Global supply chain constraints were also cited as part of the reason for that initial delay, which canceled two sailings for the vessel. Now, six additional sailings have been canceled, bringing the total of canceled cruises to eight.

With the cancelation of these additional sailings, Norwegian Viva‘s new inaugural voyage is planned to set sail on August 26, 2023. The new ship will spend several weeks sailing a variety of Mediterranean itineraries before repositioning to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in December 2023 for the winter season in the Caribbean. Norwegian Viva will return to the Mediterranean in spring 2024.

Carnival Cruise Line Bookings Almost Double

Carnival Cruise Line announced on Friday, August 12, 2022, that its pre-cruise testing requirements would be simplified, dropping the mandate entirely for vaccinated passengers on cruises of 15 nights or less, depending on the destination. The updated protocols will go into effect on September 6, 2022

On Monday, August 15 – the first full business booking day after the announcement – the cruise line saw tremendous positive response to the change. Monday’s bookings were nearly double the level for the equivalent day in 2019, well before the pandemic began.

Carnival Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock

Mid-summer booking activity is historically a slow period, as families have already planned their annual vacations during schools-out periods, and are not yet planning for future travel. However, Carnival did say that guests are responding very favorably to the updated protocols, despite Mid-August typically being slow for bookings.

Guests have many amazing options to come for Carnival cruises still in 2022, with Carnival Luminosa scheduled to join the fleet in November, followed quickly by the debut of the cruise line’s second Excel-class ship, Carnival Celebration, which will set sail on her maiden voyage from Miami on November 21.

Holland America Drops Requirements

Following similar moves last week by sister cruise lines Cunard Line, P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises, Holland America Line has announced a relaxation of its pre-cruise health and safety protocols. The cruise line is dropping pre-cruise testing for vaccinated passengers on a majority of sailings and allowing unvaccinated to sail as long as they meet any testing requirements.

As of September 6, 2022, vaccinated guests will no longer need to present a negative pre-cruise test in order to set sail. The new guidelines, while not quite universal, do make cruising much less complicated for most guests.

Holland America Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: VIDEOVISTAVIEW / Shutterstock

While this is welcome news indeed for test-weary travelers and those eagerly awaiting a greater return to normalcy in cruising, there are still itineraries that require pre-cruise testing.

At the moment, all cruises that visit Australia, Canada, and Greece must still have passengers test before setting sail. In an abundance of caution, Holland America Line is also still requiring pre-cruise tests for all passengers on sailings of 16 nights or longer.

In another update to the protocols, guests who are unable to be vaccinated may once again cruise with Holland America Line on sailings shorter than 16 nights.

Prior to this update, all guests age 12 and older were required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.

Unvaccinated guests, however, will still need to present a negative antigen or PCR test result before embarkation. Tests may be taken up to 72 hours before sailing.

Impressive Port Canaveral Numbers

July 2022 will go into the books as one of the busiest months in the history of Port Canaveral. With ships operating at more than 100% occupancy rates, the numbers are far above what the port projected to see for the fiscal year. 

Last year, the Port Authority expected to operate at around 50% occupancy for the first three months of 2022, concluding at approximately 75% for the rest of the year. With the fiscal year ending on September 30, Port Canaveral expects 25% more cruise passengers to pass through than last year’s budget.

Cruise Ships in Port Canaveral, Florida
Photo Credit: Robert Michaud / Shutterstock

So far, in the last ten months, Port Canaveral has handled 674 calls from cruise ships with more than 3.2 million multiday passengers. In the previous six weeks, more than 100,000 guests sailed from the port each week, with more than 120,000 during the last week of July. 

With 112 more homeport calls during 2023 than during 2022 and 99 calls from ships visiting the port on one-day visits, Port Canaveral will be busier than ever next year, totaling 909 multiday calls. 

Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will be using Port Canaveral extensively next year, both scheduling three ships permanently and one seasonally. For Royal Caribbean, this includes the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas.

Disney Updates Protocols

Following similar announcements in recent days by other cruise lines, Disney Cruise Line has updated its pre-cruise testing and vaccination protocols beginning September 2, 2022. This includes new age-based vaccination guidelines, as well as exceptions for embarkation day testing for vaccinated guests.

While Disney Cruise Line’s current protocols require that all guests age 5 and older be fully vaccinated before sailing, that age requirement will be changed for cruises departing September 2 and later. At that time, only guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail.

Disney Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

The cruise line does state, however, that it highly recommends that Guests ages 11 and younger be fully vaccinated before sailing. If fully vaccinated, guests may take a pre-cruise test 1-2 days prior to sailing on any Disney ship from a US or Canadian homeport.

Guests who are not vaccinated or who are unable to present appropriate vaccination records prior to embarkation day must take a NAAT or PCR test 1-3 days prior to embarkation.

Icon of the Seas Construction

Following a teaser trailer released earlier this month, Royal Caribbean International has now released the first full episode of the “Making an Icon” video series.

At just under eight minutes long, the short video is still packed with behind-the-scenes views and tantalizing insights about the upcoming vessel.

The first episode, titled “Envisioning an Iconic Vacation” explores the very early days of the new ship’s conception, the brainstorm and ideation that is now being brought to life at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas
Credit: Royal Caribbean

Brief quotes and descriptive phrases from naval architects and interior designers to industrial engineers, food and beverage directors, artists, executives, and more add to the well-deserved hype surrounding the new ship.

Video clips show different steps in the ship’s initial construction, including the steel cutting ceremony on June 16, 2021 as well as previous design brainstorming sessions and team meetings as the ship was being developed and glimpses throughout the construction process, such as bringing the mysterious sphere aboard the ship.

This first episode ends with a teaser that the next episode will feature insider looks at design and construction, with tight timelines to stay on track for the planned fall 2023 debut of Icon of the Seas.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just a handful of the cruise news headlines from the past week, we’ve got all the full coverage, including Princess Cruises introducing a new stateroom bidding program, Carnival Cruise Line releasing details on its 23-day voyage, lost luggage becoming a growing problem for cruise ship passengers, a new pier and terminal coming to the San Juan cruise port, new activities rolled out across MSC cruise ships based in the US, huge funding for Virgin Voyages, a rescue made by a Norwegian cruise ship in the Caribbean and plenty more stories.

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