There are lots of cruise news updates you need to know about as the cruise industry continues to adapt to the ongoing COVID situation. Some major news when it comes to Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean operations, along with more cruise ships being denied at ports.
Cruise News Update
It’s another busy week full of cruise news as the industry faces its toughest challenge since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Two major cruise lines have suspended operations on select ships, resulting in last-minute cancellations and disruption for thousands of guests. More ships have been denied at some popular cruise ports, protocols are being tightened and so much more.
In This Article…
Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellations
Just when cruising has been slowly returning and more ships are setting sail, Norwegian Cruise Line is canceling voyages on eight different vessels, some of which will now not be sailing until April 2022. The reason for the suspensions is due to the ongoing difficulties around the world with travel requirements at ports. So here are the following voyages that are now canceled:
- Norwegian Getaway embarking on January 5, 2022 is canceled. We’ve already covered the Getaway’s canellation, which was last-minute just the evening before to ship was to depart on the sailing
- Norwegian Pearl with embarkations through and including January 14, 2022 are canceled. The ship has returned back to Miami after the cruise line decided to end Pearl’s January 3 sailing early
- Norwegian Sky with embarkations through and including February 25, 2022 are canceled
- Pride of America with embarkations through and including February 26, 2022 are canceled
- Norwegian Jade with embarkations through and including March 3, 2022 are canceled
- Norwegian Star with embarkations through and including March 19, 2022 are canceled
- Norwegian Sun with embarkations through and including April 19, 2022 are canceled
- Norwegian Spirit with embarkations through and including April 23, 2022 are canceled
So here is when each of the affected ships is scheduled to restart sailing after the cancelation dates as follows:
- Norwegian Getaway offering Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami from January 14, 2022
- Norwegian Pearl on a Panama Canal sailing departing from PortMiami on January 17, 2022
- Norwegian Sky offering Caribbean sailings from PortMiami from March 2, 2022
- Pride of America sailing Hawaiian itineraries from Honolulu from March 5, 2022
- Norwegian Jade sailing Greek Isles itineraries from Rome beginning March 30, 2022
- Norwegian Star offering Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona from April 3, 2022
- Norwegian Sun beginning Alaska itineraries from Seattle beginning May 5, 2022
- Norwegian Spirit sailing Hawaii itineraries from Tahiti from April 23, 2022
Royal Caribbean Select Suspensions
And another major cruise line has suspended operations for select ships. Royal Caribbean announced on Friday, January 7 that four of its vessels will be suspended due to concerns over COVID and the evolving situation. In fact, some Royal Caribbean ships have already been having itinerary issues due to positive cases onboard including among the crew.
Vision of the Seas operating with guests from Fort Lauderdale will be on pause until March 2022. Serenade of the Seas based out of Tampa will remain on hold from January 8 to March 5, returning on April 26 after a dry dock.
Jewel of the Seas which homeports in Miami, Florida, will have cruises suspended from January 9 to February 12, with the first sailing back departing on February 20, 2022. The world’s largest cruise ship Symphony of the Seas is also impacted, with cruises canceled from January 8 to January 22, with the Oasis-class vessel returning on January 20, 2022.
It will be a huge disappointment to guests, especially for those who were scheduled to set sail on their Royal Caribbean cruise in less than 24 hours. Many would have already arrived near the departure ports in Florida, along with arranging any pre-cruise testing within two days.
The cruise line is offering options of compensation so if you are booked on any of the sailings do make sure to check for the latest updates or get in touch with your travel agent.
Celebrity Apex Denied at Nassau
It’s another last-minute port cancellation for a cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. This time it is Celebrity Apex which has been denied entry to the Bahamas due to changes the country made in its entry requirements for cruise ships. The vessel spent a day at sea instead of guests being able to enjoy the day ashore in Nassau.
The Edge-class vessel is on a 5-day Bahamas Cruise sailing roundtrip from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale which departed on January 3. The vessel spent one day at sea and a day in Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic, and is slowly making her way back to Fort Lauderdale where she is expected to arrive on Saturday, January 8.
Carnival Freedom Denied at Grand Turk
Carnival Freedom has been denied at another cruise port during its eight-day Caribbean itinerary. The Carnival cruise ship was not allowed to make a scheduled visit to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos on January 7 due to concerns over COVID.
It was decided by the local health Ministry of the Turks and Caicos after reviewing details submitted by the ship not to allow guests to disembark the vessel and deny the ship entry in the best interest of public health.
Cruise lines must submit the number of cases on board to each port before visiting. According to an announcement by the ship’s captain on January 5, there were COVID cases among the crew, no specific numbers have been released, but no doubt the cruise line can deal with the situation with protocols in place.
Carnival Freedom was scheduled to visit St. Kitts on January 5 but was denied entry by local authorities. Instead, the vessel spent the day at sea followed by another day at sea before the port cancellation at Grand Turk.
The voyage has also been hit with the cancellation of San Juan due to new entry requirements by local authorities and St. Maarten being replaced with Antigua. The ship is scheduled to arrive back in Miami on January 9.
Carnival’s Hawaii Sailing is a Go!
After the Hawaiian Department of Transportation announced a port agreement had been signed with Carnival Cruise Line, the question came up whether the first Hawaiian cruise could proceed as planned. There has been good news on that front as Carnival Miracle’s Hawaii cruise is now a go.
Guests will have to go through various additional safety measures for the sailing to go ahead, but no doubt it will be worth it!
Carnival Miracle will be the first cruise ship in the fleet to call in Hawaii with guests since the worldwide operational pause in March of 2020. The ship will sail from Long Beach, California, on January 9, for a 14-day cruise to the Hawaii islands.
The announcement that Carnival Miracle will sail will be welcome news for guests booked on the voyage. A previous cruise, scheduled for departure on December 3, 2021, did not sail as the authorities were not ready to receive cruise ships at that time.
Royal Caribbean Extends Tightened Mask Policy
In an email sent to booked guests and travel agent partners, Royal Caribbean International is extending its current health and safety protocol requiring masks to be worn indoors onboard its ships on all sailings departing on or before January 31, 2022. This policy applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated venues.
Guests will be expected to wear masks at all times when indoors except when actively eating or drinking. In addition to the mask policy, smoking will also not be permitted in the casino for all cruises departing on or before January 31, 2022.
Royal Caribbean first tightened its mask policy on December 17, 2021, in response to increased COVID-19 cases worldwide and the spread of the Omicron variant. Prior to that change, masks were not required in fully-vaccinated venues, even indoors.
More Cruise Headlines
So we’ve got even more cruise news, including Carnival Cruise Line releasing the cruise director schedule, cruise cancellations in Hong Kong for Royal Caribbean and Dream Cruises, suspended operations for cruises in Brazil, and of course the results of the 2021 Cruise Ship Awards, find out which ships and cruise lines came out on top in the annual awards.