Cruise News Update: May 14, 2022

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Here we go with another cruise news update as more cruise ships resume operations and find out what’s gone wrong with a Princess cruise ship and a cruise line with crew shortages.

Cruise News Update

In this week’s cruise update, find out what’s going wrong with two cruise lines as Princess Cruises deals with propulsion issues with one of its ships and Cunard cancels guest bookings due to crew shortage problems.

We’ve also got itinerary changes for two Carnival cruise ships, some good news from Holland America Line and further cancellations from Norwegian Cruise Line as a ship extends its absence from Nothern Europe.

Zaandam Resumes Operations

Let’s start with some good news as two more Holland America cruise ships resumed operations this past week, with Oosterdam out of Venice in Italy and Zaandam out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Rotterdam-class Zaandam has welcomed guests aboard for its first sailing since the global pandemic shutdown began in March 2020.

Zaandam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: FotoKina / Shutterstock

This first cruise, which set sail on May 12, 2022, is a 9-night, one-way voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Montreal, Canada, calling on various ports such as Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Sydney, Nova Scotia, before it arrives in Montreal, Quebec, on May 21.

To commemorate the ship’s return to service, Holland America Line held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Port Everglades terminal to open embarkation. Now, Zaandam will offer Canada and New England cruises between Boston and Montreal during the summer and early fall.

Oosterdam Returns to Service

The ninth ship in the Holland America Line fleet, MS Oosterdam, resumed service on Sunday, May 8, as she set sail from Venice.

The ship is now sailing a 12-night itinerary with popular calls in Greece and Italy. This return-to-service voyage was marked with an enthusiastic ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Oosterdam‘s captain and senior officers, with the ship’s crew cheering the first guests to board.

MS Oosterdam
Photo Credit: Holland America Line

This is the beginning of the ship’s Mediterranean season, which will include a variety of sailings with stunning ports in Spain, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and more. Oosterdam will remain in the Mediterranean through early November.

Now, only one ship remains to restart – the Vista-class Westerdam, which will set sail June 12 from Seattle with 7-night sailings to Alaska.

If you were wondering about the Volendam cruise ship, Holland America Line and the City of Rotterdam in the Netherlands have extended its charter to house Ukrainian refugees through September 14, 2022.

Carnival Cruise Line Itinerary Changes

In an email sent on May 10, 2022, Carnival Cruise Line announced multiple changes to upcoming sailings for Carnival Breeze and Carnival Valor.

More than 50 sailings aboard Carnival Breeze are affected, as early as the May 28, 2022 sailing and extending well into 2024. Fewer sailings of Carnival Valor are impacted.

The ports adjusted are all Mexican destinations, as both ships are scheduled to be operating Western Caribbean sailings during the impacted dates. Various ports of call in Mexico are top destinations for cruises in that region.

Carnival Valor Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

For most of the Carnival Breeze itineraries, the overall route order is reversed, while in-port times for Progreso and Cozumel have been slightly changed.

Similar changes have been made for 10 sailings of Carnival Valor. Depending on the sailing, Costa Maya has been replaced with Progreso, port times in Costa Maya have been adjusted, or port visit orders have been reversed.

The Dream-class Carnival Breeze is sailing out of Galveston for these sailings, while the Conquest-class Carnival Valor is sailing from New Orleans.

Crown Princess Issues

Crown Princess, which has only resumed service this past week with her first cruise in more than two years, is experiencing ongoing engine issues that have required more itinerary changes and even port cancelations.

This is in addition to changes that were announced a week before the sailing due to scheduled maintenance on one of the ship’s diesel generators.

On April 28, guests had already been informed of the scheduled maintenance and advised that the call on Ketchikan needed to be canceled, but a visit to Icy Strait Point was added to the itinerary. The call to Juneau was to be shortened by several hours, while the call on Skagway was to begin one hour earlier than originally planned.

Crown Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Drew Rawcliffe / Shutterstock

Now, with a second diesel generator requiring repairs, the itinerary has been adjusted even further. Both the calls on Juneau and the new visit to Icy Strait Point are canceled, Ketchikan was added back into the itinerary, and the visit times in both Skagway and Victoria had been shortened.

Crown Princess set sail on this newly revised itinerary on Saturday, May 7, spent Sunday at sea, and called on Ketchikan from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

While Princess Cruises has not made official announcements for further Crown Princess alterations, guests booked on upcoming sailings are also reporting similar itinerary changes later in May and into June.

Sailings in August do not appear to be affected, other than the possibility of a slightly earlier departure from Seattle.

Cunard Line Lowers Capacity Due to Shortages

Ongoing travel difficulties across international borders are making it challenging for Cunard Line to fully staff its vessels, which often have some of the best guest-to-crew ratios for larger ships in the cruise industry.

The difficulties are related to travel restrictions, which often include testing requirements, quarantine periods, and other health and safety protocols that can make it difficult for crew members traveling through multiple countries to join a ship.

Cunard line Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: LecartPhotos / Shutterstock

In communication with guests, the cruise line has stated“As you may have seen in the news, the wider impact of COVID-19 is affecting hospitality and is disrupting airlines and as such this is impacting the number of crew members we are able to get to our ships.”

As a result, the British-based cruise line has said that it’s limiting the number of guests sailing as it builds crew numbers back up.

Thus far, the impacted sailings are reported to be during June and July 2022, though some sailings in August may also be affected.

While there has been no direct announcement about which guests, cabins, or sailings are immediately impacted, Cunard Line has been contacting guests directly if they are affected.

Cunard Line is not the first to be affected by crew shortages. Just one month ago, P&O Cruises canceled seven sailings of Arcadia just after the vessel officially reentered service, citing crew availability.

Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellations

Norwegian Cruise Line has opted to extend the cancelation of its Baltic sailings and Russian ports of call through 2023. This impacts sailings aboard Norwegian Getaway, which may be remaining in the Caribbean instead.

Guests booked aboard Norwegian Getaway with sailings from April 15, 2023 through October 26, 2023 have been notified that their cruises have been canceled. These cruises were scheduled as Northern Europe and Baltic sailings, departing from Copenhagen.

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Serhii Ivashchuk / Shutterstock

Ports of call on the affected sailings included destinations in Germany, Sweden, Finland, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Earlier this year, Norwegian Cruise Line was the first major line to remove St. Petersburg from its 2022 itineraries.

Now, these further cancelations effectively cancel the cruise line’s calls aboard Norwegian Getaway to St. Petersburg through all of 2023.

While Norwegian Cruise Line opted to keep Norwegian Getaway’s Northern Europe sailings intact through mid-June this year – the ship is moving to Port Canaveral this summer to offer Caribbean sailings.

The new summer cruises are 7-night sailings visiting Eastern Caribbean ports, including St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Plata, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay.

More Cruise Headlines

It was another busy week in the cruise industry and we’ve got all the coverage, including Carnival Cruise Line breaking ground at its new port development on Grand Bahama Island, Princess Cruises detailing a new all-inclusive package, Norwegian Cruise Line releasing a business update, Margaritaville at Sea setting sail for the first time, the godmother revealed for the new Celebrity Beyond cruise ship, and plenty more.

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