Cruise News Update: December 11, 2021

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Even though the cruise industry is back sailing in the US, cruise ships remain on hold for some countries. We’ve got all the latest cruise news in another major update, including itinerary changes and cancellations.

Cruise News Update

Are you ready for another fluid week of developing cruise news? It sure has been busy as it’s a major blow to the cruise industry in Australia, more itinerary changes for Carnival Cruise ships, another NCL cruise ship returns to service, an update on Carnival cruise directors, and one Caribbean cruise port not reopening as planned.

Australia Extends Cruise Ban

We start with Australia, a country that has remained closed to cruise ships since March 2020 and now continues to be closed for an additional two months. The ban on cruise ships down under has been extended to February 17, 2022.

Cruise Ship in Australia
Photo Credit: Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock

With lead times to start up ships coming up to 60 days, cruising is unlikely to return to Australia before May 2022, a time when winter is setting in and cruising traditionally slows down considerably. It’s a significant setback for multiple cruise lines that operate from the country, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises.

The cruise ban in Australia was previously extended to December 17, 2021. In the meantime, vessels remain on hold and cruise lines extend their suspensions, resulting in even more impacted guests.

Carnival Ships On Hold Even Longer

So while we’re on the topic of Australia extending its ban on cruise ships, just a day before the government made the announcement, Carnival Cruise Line announced that two of its ships based down under would remain on hold even longer.

Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Decha.k /

Carnival Splendor cruises are now cancelled through April 8, 2022. The vessel previously had sailings cancelled into early March 2022. Carnival Spirit cruises are cancelled through April 10, 2022, and the ship also previously had cancelled sailings into early March 2022.

Both ships have remained on hold since the industry-wide suspensions started in March 2020. However, the cruise line has been taking advantage of the free time with Carnival Spirit already receiving her new red, white and blue livery during dry dock in Dubai.

Norwegian Dawn Returns to Service

Sailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, Norwegian Dawn became the 10th Norwegian Cruise ship to resume operations on December 8.

Norwegian Dawn departed from Tampa Bay on an 11-day voyage to Key West, Amber Cove, St. Thomas, Curacao, and Aruba.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: David T London /

From December through April 2022, Norwegian Dawn will offer guests a wide variety of Caribbean cruises, such as 11-day cruises that include calls to the Bahamas and the Southern Caribbean.

Harvest Cay in Belize, the cruise line’s private resort, is included for Norwegian Dawn on 7-day cruises from Tampa, which also includes calls in Cozumel and Costa Maya. In February of 2022, there will be a 14-day cruise that explores the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

Carnival Update on Cruise Directors

In a social media update posted on Facebook, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald provided updates on seven different cruise directors covering five ships in the fleet.

Carnival Cruise Ship Deck
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Heald clarified a complete listing of which cruise directors are assigned to which ships will be available in early January. The cruise directors who are currently shifting assignments or just recently announced include:

  • Carnival Radiance – Ryan Rose
  • Carnival Conquest – Eversen “Reverend Dr. E” Bevelle
  • Carnival Liberty – Dustin Gabriel
  • Carnival Sunshine – Chris “Donkey” Salazar (through January 12, 2022)
  • Carnival Sunshine – Jake Miller (from January 13, 2022)
  • Carnival Magic – Andy Mercer (from December 26, 2021 through January 23, 2022)
  • Carnival Magic – Simon London (from January 24, 2022)

The cruise line has also announced that the current cruise director on Carnival Magic, Gary Blair, is leaving his position.

Grandeur of the Seas Returns to Service

For the first time in more than twenty months, Grandeur of the Seas sailed for the very first time from her new homeport of Bridgetown, Barbados. The smallest cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean line-up departed on a 7-night Southern Caribbean island hop holiday cruise.

Grandeur of the Seas is only the third Royal Caribbean cruise ship not currently operating from a US homeport. Quantum of the Seas sails from Singapore, Explorer of the Seas operates from Puerto Rico, a United States territory, and Spectrum of the Seas is sailing from Hong Kong.

Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: NAN728 /

The first cruise set sail from Bridgetown to Tobago, Trinidad, Grenada, Martinique, Dominica, and St. Lucia. Grandeur of the Seas arrives back in Barbados on December 12. The ship will combine the 7-day Island Hop cruises with 7-day Southern Caribbean cruises that call at Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and Trinidad. On January 9, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship will sail on a 14-day cruise exploring a more comprehensive range of Caribbean islands.

Grandeur of the Seas will continue cruising from Bridgetown, Barbados, for the following months. It will reposition to Galveston, Texas, in May 2022, for a series of 4- and 5-day cruises to the Western Caribbean.

Carnival Ship Itinerary Changes

The adjustment of itineraries continues for Carnival Cruise Line, and following changes for three ships last week, there are now additional itinerary changes.

Carnival Pride has five adjusted sailings in 2022 out of the Port of Tampa, departing on January 23, March 20, April 17, November 12, and December 23. The ship’s October 28 departure from Italy in 2023 has also been altered.

Carnival Mardi Gras in San Juan
Photo Credit: Puerto Rico Tourism Company

Carnival Dream has three sailings that have changed out of Galveston, Texas, which depart on February 6, 2022, April 3, 2022, and April 30, 2023.

Mardi Gras also has an itinerary change for its December 18 departure from Port Canaveral in Florida. It’s the second itinerary change for the ship in December as Carnival Cruise Line already changed the December 4 sailing. Now, you might wonder why two Mardi Gras sailings have changed this month! Well, the answer leads us to the next news story.

Grand Turk Delays Reopening

Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos has not reopened to cruise ships as planned. There are already two cruises for Mardi Gras that won’t be visiting Grand Turk, including the departure on December 4 and December 18, 2021. Mardi Gras was to become the first cruise ship to return to Grand Turk on December 7 but of course that never went ahead. Carnival Magic’s December 4 voyage from Port Canaveral also removed the call.

Carnival Cruise Ships in Grand Turk
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Even though Carnival Cruise Line has not given a specific return date, the reason is that many checks need to be done, including dredging, making sure that the infrastructure is as expected and that beaches are ready for thousands of cruise visitors.

The government has also said that it’s making preparations on protocols and working with local vendors to ensure everyone remains protected with the return of cruise ships. The plan is that the first cruise ship is now set to arrive at the island with guests during the week of December 13. The specific date is yet to be announced.

More Cruise Headlines

As usual, it has been a busy week of cruise news, and we’ve got even more stories that may be of interest to you, including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises extending their cancellation policies, Carnival’s Camp Ocean reopens, St. Kitts announces relaxed protocols for cruise visitors, cruise line rebrands to Margaritaville at Sea, four Royal Caribbean cruise ships to sail Alaska in 2023 and loads more cruise news.

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