Your cruise news update across all the major cruise lines from the past week. There are multiple developments from Carnival and for a change, most are good! There are also things you need to know about Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Disney Cruise Line.
In This Article…
Cruise News Update
We’ve got lots of cruise news updates for you from the past week across all the major cruise lines and it has been a busy time for Carnival Cruise Line with changes on protocols, Costa ships joining the fleet, and a popular onboard event making a comeback.
We’ve also got news on Princess Cruises cancellations, a huge development as one cruise line tries dropping pre-cruise testing and Disneys’s new cruise ship arrives in Florida. Celebrity Cruises hits a massive milestone as Celebrity Infinity doesn’t just complete the fleet comeback, but the comeback for all Royal Caribbean Group cruise lines.
Carnival Eases Protocols for Going Ashore
In a message sent to travel partners as well as changes to its Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols, Carnival Cruise Line has dropped its requirement that unvaccinated guests only book shore tours or else remain on board in ports of call.
The cruise line now says that unvaccinated guests are permitted to go ashore to enjoy tours or independent sightseeing, regardless of vaccination status.
This means that guests who have received vaccination exemptions may now choose to arrange independent shore tours not offered by Carnival or simply debark the ship to explore on their own.
Previously, Carnival’s protocols stated that unvaccinated guests age 12 and older could not visit ports of call on their own and may only go ashore if booked on a Carnival shore excursion.
However, the update doesn’t apply to all ports of call as they are not yet all permitting unvaccinated guests to go ashore. The ports that are still restricted to unvaccinated guests aged 12 and over are San Juan, Bonaire, Grand Cayman, St. Kitts and Tortola. For Grand Turk, guests aged 16 and over won’t be able to go ashore and guests aged 18 and over won’t be able to go ashore in Cartagena, Columbia.
The cruise line is slowly easing its protocols and more changes could be on the way very soon. the CDC already confirmed to Cruise Hive last week that it was reassessing its pre-cruise testing requirement for cruise ships.
Princess Cruises Cancellations
Princess Cruises has announced more cancellations that impact those guests cruising in Australia. The Majestic Princess voyages from March 7, 2023, through March 9, 2023, have now been canceled.
These sailings are part of a longer 18-day itinerary which can be split up using different departure ports. Princess Cruises said the reason for the cancellations resulted from recent deployment changes.
The March 7 Australian Seacation sailing was scheduled to depart from Sydney and end in Brisbane on March 9. There was also a much longer 18-day Asia & Australia sailing departing on the same day and ending in Hong Kong on March 25, 2023. The third impacted sailing is the 16-day Asia & Australia voyage from Brisbane to Hong Kong.
The cruise line is offering alternative options for guests booked on the impacted Majestic Princess sailings. There are recommended replacement voyages with a two-day sailing from Sydney departing on April 6, 2024, a 21-day sailing from Sydney departing on April 6, and a 19-day voyage that departs Brisbane on April 8, 2024.
More Costa Ships to Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line is going full Italian style with “COSTA by Carnival” and bringing two more Costa cruise ships to the Carnival fleet.
Costa Venezia will join in Spring 2023 and debut out of New York City, while Costa Firenze will join in 2024 and debut under her new cruise brand out of Long Beach, California.
The cruise line is bringing the Italian style of cruising to the U.S. market and guests will get to enjoy the stunning Italian-inspired decor that both the ships offer.
This follows the recent announcement that Costa Luminosa will be joining the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in November 2022. That ship, however, will be completely rebranded and renamed Carnival Luminosa, while Costa Venezia and Costa Firenze will be retaining their Costa Cruises identities.
Both ships will undergo dry dock work prior to relocating to the United States, but full details on that work have not yet been released.
Carnival Cruise Line already operates three Vista-class vessels in the Fun Ship fleet: Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama, which joined the line in 2016, 2018, and 2019, respectively.
The two Costa ships are younger sisters in the class, with Costa Venezia having debuted in 2019 and Costa Firenze in 2020.
P&O Cruises Drops Pre-Departure Testing
P&O Cruises, the largest UK-based cruise line, is temporarily removing the testing mandate for at least one ship. The Carnival Corporation-owned cruise line operates cruises mainly from the UK, where the government removed entry requirements to come into the country on March 18, 2022.
In a letter to guests, P&O Cruises announced it will remove the need for pre-departure testing onboard its flagship Iona. This would only be for a limited amount of time, from 25 June to 23 July 2022.
During the five voyages in this period, any guests considered fully vaccinated will no longer need to purchase or take a lateral flow (antigen) test before boarding the ship.
The voyages in question are departures out of Southampton, UK on June 25, July 2, July 9, July 16, and July 23.
Any non-vaccinated guests will still need to adhere to the testing requirements. This includes all guests over the age of 12. Guests aged 16 years and over will also need to have a booster shot if more than 270 days have passed since their final dose.
Also, Iona is sailing on a series of short cruises, which all have the same itinerary. This gives the cruise line the chance to evaluate each voyage and see if there is a basis for expanding the policy to other ships in the fleet.
Disney Wish Arrives in the U.S.
Disney Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, the highly-anticipated Disney Wish, arrived at her new homeport of Port Canaveral shortly before sunrise Monday, June 20, 2022. The ship sailed from Germany, on June 9.
She was escorted by a flotilla of Port-based tugboats and the Port Canaveral Fire Rescue Fireboat 2 providing the traditional water cannon salute.
Disney Wish was welcomed to her new Florida home by cruise ship fans that lined up at Jetty Park, a popular area for viewing cruise ships sailing into Port Canaveral. In the coming days, the vessel will be preparing for her first official guest voyage, which will set sail on June 29.
The ship had been scheduled to commence operations as early as January this year. However, supply chain issues and delays due to COVID-19 meant the ship only left the shipyard for final outfitting and sea trials in March.
The fifth ship in the fleet will operate three- and four-night itineraries to the Bahamas, including Disney’s own private island Castaway Cay. Disney Wish is 144,000 gross tons and has a guest capacity of 2,500 at double occupancy.
Carnival Brings Back Popular Event
In a sign that crew shortages are easing a bit (which we will get into shortly), Carnival Cruise Line is now able to bring back the popular loyalty parties for its Diamond and Platinum “Very Important Fun Person” (VIFP) guests.
This is sure to be a welcome announcement for many passengers, as the parties are a highlight of the cruise for many past guests.
These events are highly anticipated by many loyal Carnival cruisers, and often include free drinks and appetizers, visits from the ship’s officers, and a popular video showcasing every Carnival cruise ship from the line’s founding in 1972 to the newest and upcoming vessels.
The VIFP events were temporarily canceled in mid-May due to short staffing on Carnival’s ships, and guests were offered different compensation as a substitute for the missed events.
More good news coming for Carnival Cruise Line as the staffing issues are improving. A backlog of visa applications to process was part of the cause of the cruise line’s staffing shortages, and Carnival Cruise Line has been working with representatives from the U.S. government to ease the backlog and return eager crew members to their vessels.
It is taking some time, but hopefully soon, not just Carnival but other cruise lines too will be able to be back fully staffed.
All Celebrity Cruise Ships Back Sailing
We end with some more good news as Celebrity Infinity returns to service after 881 days on pause due to the industry-wide suspension which started in March 2020. The Celebrity cruise ship is departing on June 25th from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailing with stops in the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the Dominican Republic.
Celebrity Infinity is offering alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries with all cruises having a call to Bimini or Nassau and Key West. The Eastern Caribbean sailings will have additional visits to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The Western Caribbean sailings will feature additional ports in Belize and Cozumel.
It does get even better as the Celebrity cruise ship marks a huge milestone not just for Celebrity Cruises, but also for parent company Royal Caribean Group.
It does now mean that all 63 Royal Caribbean Group cruise ships are back sailing. To mark the huge milestone, the entire fleet will sound their horn on Saturday, June 25 in celebration and to honor the crew.
More Cruise Headlines
The past week has been full of major cruise news and we’ve got all the coverage, including damage to the cruise port in Skagway after a rockslide, MSC Cruises bringing back its popular Gala Night across the fleet, Carnival Corporation’s second-quarter business update, Two Crystal cruise ships to be relaunched under the same brand name in 2023, construction starts on the first of two TUI 160,000 gross tons LNG-powred cruise ships, the CDC reevaluating the pre-cruise testing for cruise ships and so much more.