Updates from major cruise lines as it’s just another busy week in the industry. Six major headlines to catch up including more cancellations by Norwegian Cruise Line and a developing situation with a luxury cruise line and its parent company.
Cruise News Update
Here we go with another major cruise news update and guess what? It’s just another busy week in the cruise industry as cruise lines continue to make changes, adapt to the Omicron variant, and push forward on making sure guests have a great cruise vacation despite all the changes. So let’s get into the updates with a Carnival ship resuming cruises, an arrest warrant for another ship, cancellations, and more. You can also watch the video below for the latest:
In This Article…
Princess Cruises Extends Book with Confidence
With the uncertainty surrounding cruise vacations continuing, Princess Cruises is offering guests reassurance by extending the line’s Book with Confidence program through September 30, 2022, for all cruises booked by March 2, 2022.
This will permit interested guests more flexibility with their travel plans, knowing their cruise vacation investment is protected if their plans change in the coming weeks.
As a new feature of the Book with Confidence program, Princess Cruises is also introducing the COVID-19 Protection Program. This program operates solely within 30 days of sailing, all the way through to the end of a guest’s cruise, and is designed to assist booked guests if they may be unable to travel to the embarkation port, be denied boarding, be quarantined onboard, or be disembarked early.
The cruise line has also announced that it will continue to operate vaccinated cruises, as defined by the CDC, for guests who are fully vaccinated. Boosters are highly recommended, though not required, for eligible passengers at least 7 days before sailing.
Carnival Horizon Resumes Cruises
Carnival Horizon is back in Miami for her regular scheduled cruises after the cruise line pulled the vessel from service back on December 5, 2021. Suffering from technical issues affecting her top cruising speed, Carnival sent the cruise ship to Palermo, Italy, where she underwent an emergency dry-dock.
Besides her engines, which are working as they should again, Carnival Horizon also underwent several cosmetic changes. She now sports the new blue, red, and white livery Carnival Cruise Line has been introducing around the fleet since the introduction of Mardi Gras in 2021.
It means that the Vista-class cruise ship is ready again to take on her scheduled itinerary of six- and eight-night cruises around the Caribbean. The first voyage departing today (January 22) is an 8-night voyage with three sea days and calls in Aruba, Bonaire, La Romana and Amber Cove. The voyage has a total of 2,383 passengers and 567 of those are first-time cruisers, which is very nice to see.
More NCL Cancellations
Guests booked aboard the March 20, 2022 sailing of the Jewel-class Norwegian Jewel will be disappointed to learn that their cruise has now been canceled. That voyage was to have been a 9-day roundtrip sailing from Panama City, Panama, visiting Costa Rica, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and Colombia.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also canceled further voyages aboard Pride of America, which was slated to resume her Hawaiian cruises on February 26. Now, Pride of America cruises through and including embarkation on April 2, 2022, have been canceled. The 80,439-gross-ton Pride of America was slated to have begun its inter-island Hawaii itineraries on March 5, 2022.
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a wide range of canceled sailings in recent days, with 13 ships in their 17-ship fleet currently impacted by prior suspensions or new cancelations. The only Norwegian ships currently operating are:
- Norwegian Bliss offering 5- and 7-night Mexico cruises from Los Angeles
- Norwegian Encore sailing 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami
- Norwegian Epic offering 7-night Caribbean sailings from San Juan
- Norwegian Gem sailing 7- and 10-night Caribbean cruises from New York
Crystal Cruises Latest
On to some breaking cruise news with Crystal Cruises, the luxury cruise line that’s owned by Genting Hong Kong. As you’ll probably already know, Genting has filed for bankruptcy with the Bermuda Supreme Court, and the reason why this has happened? Well, it’s all to do with the MV Werften shipyard in Germany and the failure to secure funding, resulting in an unclear future for Genting’s three cruise brands, Star Cruises and Dream Cruises in Asia and Crystal Cruises.
Following the news of Genting going bankrupt, Crystal Cruises made the decision to temporarily suspend cruises through April 29, 2022. This means that all three Crystal ships will not be operating any scheduled cruises following their current voyages. Crystal Serenity will complete its current sailing in Aruba on January 30, and Crystal Endeavor will end its current voyage in Ushuaia, Argentina, on February 4, 2022.
When it comes to Crystal Symphony, it starts to get even more complex. The luxury vessel was set to complete its current voyage in Miami, Florida, on January 22. However, just yesterday, the cruise line decided to end the voyage and head to Bimini in the Bahamas rather than its scheduled return to Miami.
We don’t know the specific reason for this change, but guests were informed onboard it was due to a “non-technical issue.” It could possibly be due to an arrest warrant that was issued in response to a civil complaint filed by fuel supplier Peninsula Petroleum Far East Pte. Ltd. due to the company not paying its fuel bills. There is $1.2 million against Crystal Symphony, $2.1 million against Crystal Cruises, and $1.3 million against Star Cruises, with unpaid bills dating as far back as 2017.
Celebrity Cancels 29 Sailings
Celebrity Cruises has decided to relocate Celebrity Infinity from its current location in Europe to the Caribbean. As a result, the scheduled Meditteranean sailings from April 15, 2022, through November 28, 2022, are being canceled. The ship will move to offer seven-day cruises in the Caribbean during the summer and fall of 2022.
Despite the cruise line surprisingly saying that it was “pleased to announce,” it will be a huge disappointment to guests that were looking forward to cruising safely in the Mediterranean. Celebrity did not give a reason for the relocation but did say thank you as it continues to work through the unique circumstances.
Twenty-nine sailings are being canceled for the Celebrity Infinity, starting from its April 15 nine-night Spain and Portugal cruises to the November 18 10-night Canaries voyage. The vessel was scheduled to offer a range of different itineraries, and 15 of those were set to be week-long itineraries, including visits to Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece.
Carnival Embarkation and Test Updates
As part of a major update on January 21, Carnival Cruise Line announced that it’s starting a new pilot program from today (January 22) for guests embarking on the Mardi Gras in Port Canaveral, Florida. It’s the VeriFLY solution that is already widely used in the airline industry.
The embarkation enhancements allow guests to upload proof of vaccination and testing information so it can be verified in advance of sailing. Carnival has said that once the pilot is completed with Mardi Gras, it intends to roll out across the fleet.
And it wasn’t just the new VeriFLY enhancements the cruise line detailed. Carnival Cruise Line is finalizing plans to expand in-terminal testing capabilities for vaccinated guests prior to embarkation for short itineraries such as 3- and 4-day sailings.
The testing sites to support the short cruises will be phased-in and announced at the end of January and the sites will allow guests to meet the pre-cruise testing requirements, but pre-registrations will be needed and it will cost $10 per test.
Carnival Cruise Line Protocols Continue
Since the CDC order ended, many cruisers had been asking what Carnival would do next, well – the answer is nothing. As of January 21, 2022, the cruise line will continue its current Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols for the foreseeable future. There is no set end date for when the protocols could end.
Does it come as a surprise? Not really. When the CDC announced it would be withdrawing the Conditional Sail Order as a mandatory step for cruise lines, the expectation was that most, if not all, cruise lines would continue to follow the guidelines set out by the agency. It means for those booked onboard a Carnival Cruise that the health protocols as they are now will remain.
The cruise line will continue sailing vaccinated voyages only, requiring guests to be tested before embarking on the ship, and mask requirements will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Carnival did say that booster shots are not a requirement to sail at this time but are recommended.
More Cruise Headlines
So those were just a handful of the news stories from the week, we’ve got everything you need to know, including, Royal Caribbean extending its tightened mask policy, itinerary changes for multiple Carnival cruise ships, the new southern restaurant & bar unveiled for the new Wonder of the Seas, CDC increases its travel advisory for cruise destinations, Holland America extends cancellation policy and continues to follow CDC guidelines.