Cruise News Update: March 12, 2022

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Your cruise news update with all the major developments from the past week and no doubt it has been an important one for Carnival Cruise Line, which celebrates its 50th birthday. which has been sailing for half a century!

Cruise News Update

Carnival Cruise Line dominates this week’s cruise news update as it celebrates its 50th birthday! We’ve got all the coverage on that along with another Carnival ship resuming operations after being on pause for two years, the VeriFLY app option launching for all Carnival ships from US homeports, Bubble tours removed and we end with MSC Cruises being based from New York City in 2023.

Carnival’s 50th Birthday

Can you believe it? Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing for half a century ever since the original Mardi Gras set sail from PortMiami on March 11, 1972. To mark the historic event, the cruise line celebrated with an event onboard the Carnival Conquest while docked in Miami, the cruise capital of the world and also the home base for “Amerca’s Cruise Line.”

The celebration was attended by Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, along with Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison and Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald.

We’ve seen many Carnival 50th birthday cakes these last few days, but none of them have been as big as the one featured on stage during the event. Christine Duffy and Micky Arison cut the cake to mark a significant milestone in the cruise line’s history.

Carnival Sailabration
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

It’s been a busy month for Carnival with its ship meet-ups at sea as part of its sailabrations, tons of events and specials onboard ships, and even milestones with ports and ships resuming operations. Terminal F also had its milestone on March 11 with the topping off of the building in anticipation of completion and the ribbon-cutting ceremony this fall.

Since the first voyage back in 1972, Carnival Cruise Line has grown to employ over 40,000 team members across 120 different nationalities. Carnival cruise ships have carried more than 90 million passengers since its inception and six million passengers each year across its 23 vessels from 14 US homeports.

Carnival Paradise Resumes from Tampa

Carnival Paradise is welcoming guests back onboard today from Tampa, Florida. She is one of the final Carnival Cruise ships to resume operations. The vessel has been sitting idle since March of 2020, at the onset of the global pause of cruise operations.

Carnival Paradise at Tampa Bay Port
Photo Credit: fitzcrittle / Shutterstock

Sailing on her first cruise on March 12, Carnival Paradise already arrived in Tampa on March 11 where she docked at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3, which was also the same day as Carnival’s official 50th Birthday. The Fantasy-class ship will be sailing on 4-, 5- and 6-day Western Caribbean cruises. 

The Carnival ship is departing today on a 5-day voyage to the Western Caribbean, which includes two sea days, a call at Mahogany Bay in Isla Roatan, Honduras, and a visit to Cozumel in Mexico. The ship will return to Tampa on March 17.

Carnival Launches VeriFLY

In an effort to make the health screening before the cruise a lot simpler and quicker, Carnival Cruise line has now rolled out VeriFLY for all sailings from all US homeports. Guests aboard the January 22 sailing of Mardi Gras from Port Canaveral were the first to use the VeriFLY app, which proved to be a great success. 

The time taken to complete the entire health assessment process, including checking test results, verifying health questionnaires, and verifying personal details, will be cut in half using the app.

Carnival Cruise Line VeriFLY App
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The use of the app has already proven popular with guests on recent sailings that have used the new streamlined process. In January, 85% of the 2,000 guests downloaded and used it on the first test on the Mardi Gras departure.

Available from both the Google Play store and the Apple App store, guests first set up a secure profile from their mobile device. The app will then prompt the trip details such as the cruise, any flight information, proof of vaccination, and a negative test.

Carnival Removes Bubble Tours

Carnival Cruise Line has updated its Have Fun. Be Safe protocols on its website, and also sent communications to booked guests and travel agents regarding the changes.

The cruise line has now relaxed its shore excursion restrictions effective immediately, allowing unvaccinated guests to choose any Carnival tour, rather than only a “bubble” tour. The update applies to sailings through December 31, 2022.

Carnival Cruise Ship and Beach
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

Previously before the March 8 update, unvaccinated guests could only book a bubble tour through Carnival Cruise Line. These tours offered a safe environment and ensured the residents remained protected with extra protocols in place.

If guests did not comply with the rules of a bubble tour, Carnival had warned they could have been removed. Guests were not allowed to go ashore without booking a bubble tour, which was limited to a small number for each port of call.

There are no restrictions for vaccinated guests, which is the majority. Guests can book tours through the cruise line and arrange their own sightseeing ashore. There is no limit, and vaccinated guests can go ashore to explore by themselves.

MSC Cruises From New York

The cruise line is expanding its offering in the US by basing its MSC Meraviglia cruise ship out of New York City, the first time for MSC Cruises. Plans have been revealed to homeport the vessel from the city year-round out of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal starting in April 2023.

The ship will offer a range of six- to 11-night itineraries to the Caribbean, Bermuda, along with Canada and New England. Caribbean options include six or eight-night sailings, including calls to Nassau and the cruise line’s private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.

MSC Meraviglia New York
Image Courtesy: MSC Cruises

The cruises to Bermuda will be for six nights and include three days docked at King’s Wharf combined with several relaxing days at sea. Cruises to Canada and New England are for ten or 11-nights and include calls to Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick. (11-night itineraries include an additional call in Newport, Rhode Island).

It’s a big move for MSC Cruises, which has only been based out of Florida and the Caribbean. MSC is the fastest-growing cruise line globally and just recently started operations out of Port Canaveral for the very first time. MSC added Port Canaveral in 2021 as a permanent homeport offering a mix of three, four, and seven-night cruises.

More Headlines!

So those are just some of the cruise headlines of the week, we’ve got even more, including a new show detailed for the new Disney Wish, MSC Cruises breaks ground at new Miami cruise terminal, a cruise passenger gets stuck in a water slide, Princess cruise ship denied at Caribbean cruise port and find out what the TSA extension on the airline mask mandate means for cruises.

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