Cruise News Update: July 2, 2022

Your weekly cruise news update covering the major stories across the cruise industry, including from Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.

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Here’s your cruise news update in what was another busy week in the cruise industry. The latest developments on some new vessels and the ongoing coverage after a Norwegian cruise ship hit an iceberg.

Cruise News Update

In this week’s cruise news update, we’ve got the latest update after the Norwegian Sun vessel hit an iceberg resulting in cruise cancellations. There is also coverage on new ships, including from Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, along with news on the flagships from Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line. One of the Quantum-class vessels is also suffering from engine issues, causing itinerary changes.

Cruise Cancellations After Ship Hits Iceberg

After the Norwegian Sun cruise ship hit an iceberg while transiting to Hubbard Glacier on June 25 during a nine-night Alaska voyage, the cruise line has now canceled sailings.

Norwegian Cruise Line already canceled the remainder of the June 21 sailing out of Seattle after assessing damage while docked in Juneau. It was decided to cancel the voyage, and the ship headed back to Seattle, where she arrived on Thursday, June 30.

Norwegian Sun
Photo Credit: SebZet / Shutterstock

Guests on that sailing are being provided a 100% refund of the entire cruise fare and a 100% Future Cruise Credit.

NCL also canceled the following June 30 and July 5 sailings as a precaution. Impacted guests on those sailings are being given a full refund and a 50% future cruise credit. The June 30 sailing was scheduled to be a five-night Alaskan itinerary, and the July 5 sailing was set to be a nine-night itinerary in Alaska.

Carnival Mardi Gras Rescue

Carnival Cruise Line’s flagship, Mardi Gras, has once again assisted with a seagoing rescue, this time bringing aboard four individuals from a small rowboat. The incident happened in the afternoon of Thursday, June 30, as the ship was enjoying a Fun Day at Sea while proceeding back toward Port Canaveral.

The cruise ship encountered the small rowboat, which was signaling distress, and stopped nearby to assist. The four adult occupants of the rowboat came alongside the ship and were tossed a rope to bring them in closer to the vessel.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The rowboat, which appeared older but in moderate condition, was left adrift and not recovered, though it is likely at least some of the possessions visible in the boat were also brought aboard.

As is standard procedure in these types of rescues, the rescued individuals will receive medical care, food, water, and lodging, while the cruise ship contacts the proper authorities to determine what will be done.

And in fact the following day on July 1, the U.S. Coast Guard did meet up with the Carnival cruise ship where the people from the small boat were handed over.

The ship is currently sailing a 7-night, roundtrip Western Caribbean itinerary, featuring ports of call in Cozumel and Costa Maya Mexico, as well as Roatan Island, Honduras.

The call in Honduras on Wednesday, June 29 was the last stop of the voyage, with two days at sea before the vessel arrives back at Port Canaveral on July 2.

Disney Wish Christened in Port Canaveral

Disney Cruise Line has celebrated the christening of its new flagship, the Disney Wish. The ceremony took place at the ship’s homeport of Port Canaveral, Florida on June 29.

The ceremony streamed live online on Wednesday morning and it comes after six years the new Disney ship has been in development.

The ceremony began with celebratory dances and performances, including Captain Minnie and Captain Mickey present in cruise attire, displaying the Disney Cruise Line magic.

Disney Wish Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Port Canaveral

The magic of storytelling was unraveled in the Disney Wish christening. Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Chapek described Disney Wish to feature Princess Cinderella in its main hall and technological features aboard “that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Although Disney Wish’s christening had loads of Disney tradition, there was a twist to the event. For the first time in Disney Cruise Line’s history, Make-A-Wish children were chosen as godchildren of the vessel.

Disney Wish, will set sail on its maiden voyage to the Bahamas on July 14, 2022. As the fifth ship in the fleet, it will operate three- and four-night itineraries to the Bahamas, including Disney’s own private island Castaway Cay.

Built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, the 144,00-gross-ton ship accommodates 2,500 guests at double occupancy. Disney Wish is the first out of two LNG-powered Triton-class cruise ships.

Quantum of the Seas Engine Issues

Royal Caribbean International has been reaching out to guests on multiple upcoming sailings of Quantum of the Seas, advising them of engine troubles leading to itinerary changes that include shortened port times and route alterations.

The email reads, “Due to a speed limitation caused by a technical issue with one of the ship’s engines, we’ve reduced our speed between ports and as a result, we’ve adjusted some of our arrival and departure times in Alaska and British Columbia.”

According to communications sent to booked guests, itineraries on Quantum of the Seas must be adjusted because of engine issues that affect overall cruising speed.

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock

This means the distance between some ports of call along the ship’s previously planned Alaska routes is too great to cover safely and still permit guests adequate time in port.

In the meantime, multiple itineraries are being adjusted due to the change in available speed. Impacted guests have reported the sailings departing on August 1, August 8, and August 15 already adjusted, and it is likely that additional sailings may also be impacted if the issues cannot be repaired.

Passengers have also reported Icy Strait Point being removed from some itineraries, Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier cruising removed, Skagway being dropped as a port of call or replaced with Ketchikan, and other port times being shifted or shortened.

The 168,666-gross-ton Quantum of the Seas is currently offering 7-night roundtrip sailings from Seattle, Washington, with slightly different itineraries depending on the sailing date.

Cruise Line Drops Testing for Select Sailings

Guests booked on three cruises departing on July 10, July 17, and July 24 onboard Holland America’s Rotterdam cruise ship have been informed that they no longer need to comply with the testing requirements.

The Carnival-owned cruise line’s pre-cruise testing measures have been in place since the cruise industry started operations again and have been an eyesore for many guests.

Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

The development is a further sign that the cruise industry is slowly working towards returning to the old normal. In a letter sent to guests, the cruise line says the following:

“We are reaching out to advise you of a change to our COVID-19 testing requirement that affects your sailing. As health protocols around the world continue to evolve, we are adjusting our policies to align with those of the countries we visit. 

“As a result, you are no longer required to undergo pre-cruise COVID-19 testing or produce a negative test result at embarkation for this cruise.”

Although Holland America Line is removing the testing requirements for these voyages, the vaccine mandate remains. All passengers 12 years and older are required to be fully vaccinated.

Guests 18 and older will need to have a booster shot if their initial vaccination cycle’s final dose is over 270 days from the last day of the cruise.

Utopia of the Seas Construction Milestone

A new phase of construction has officially begun on Royal Caribbean International’s upcoming Utopia of the Seas, as her keel has been laid at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, in western France. This begins the actual, physical assembly of the vessel and is a much-anticipated ceremony.

At the keel-laying ceremony, teams constructing the vessel watched as newly minted coins were placed on the ship’s first 948-ton steel block. The longstanding maritime tradition calls for coins, representing Royal Caribbean and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, to bring luck during the ship’s construction.

Utopia of the Seas Keel-Laying Ceremony
Photo Credit: © Bernard Biger – Chantiers de l’Atlantique

When construction is complete, the coins will be removed and positioned on the finished vessel, to continue bringing luck to her crew and all who sail on her in the years to come.

Utopia of the Seas is the sixth and final vessel in Royal Caribbean’s insanely popular Oasis class of ships, which was first introduced with Oasis of the Seas in 2009. These ships are currently the largest in the world, with the line’s newest vessel, Wonder of the Seas, holding that extraordinary title at the moment.

As is typical with each new ship, even within the same class, every vessel is slightly different. Utopia of the Seas will be the first of the Oasis-class to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG)

Few details of the new vessel have been revealed thus far, but it is rumored the ship may surpass 250,000 gross tons, with a guest capacity of as many as 5,714 at double occupancy, and well over 6,000 when all berths are filled.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just several cruise news stories in what was a busy week for the cruise industry. There are more headlines to update you on, including a surge in demand for Holland America bookings in Alaska, an update on Carnival Cruise Line onboard services in relation to crew shortages, the CDC elevates its travel notice for the popular cruise destination of the Dominican Republic, new venues detailed for the new MSC World Europa and plenty more, which you can check out here.

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