It has been another busy week in the cruise industry, so we’re here to make sure you’ve got all the latest cruise news updates. For the first time in more than two years, entire fleets are back sailing, there are also cancellations and ship changes.
Cruise News Update
We have a major cruise news update for you across all the major cruise lines, including the cancellation of a regular sailing for Norwegian Prima, two new developments related to the world’s largest cruise ship, an update by the CDC, Royal Caribbean deployment changes, Carnival Cruise Line becoming the first major cruise line to have the entire fleet back in service, and while we’re on that topic, all Norwegian Cruise Line ships will be back sailing with guests today!
In This Article…
Royal Caribbean Ship Changes
We already knew that Voyager of the Seas was not going to be offering sailings in Northern Europe, but now Royal Caribbean has confirmed that the ship will be based out of Fort Lauderdale in Florida instead starting from May 6, 2023.
Voyager of the Seas was originally scheduled to offer cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden starting May 21, 2023. The cruise line has been sending out communication updates regarding the deployment change over the past week.
Instead, Serenade of the Seas will take Voyager‘s place with similar itineraries, sailing from Copenhagen on Northern European and Scandinavian voyages.
Serenade of the Seas was previously scheduled to sail from Barcelona beginning in May 2023, but is instead taking over Voyager of the Seas‘ Northern European and Scandinavian itineraries. The ship’s fall 2023 deployment and itineraries have not yet been announced.
Guests who were initially booked on Voyager of the Seas will automatically be moved to the identical replacement sailing aboard Serenade of the Seas. Like-for-like stateroom categories will be protected, as will guests’ original cruise fare rates.
CDC Makes Update to Guidance for Cruise Ships
The CDC has further updated its voluntary program for cruise ships, which all the major cruise lines that operate in the U.S. are following. In the change made on May 5, 2022, CDC now says, “Changed cruise ship vaccination status thresholds from 95% of passengers to 90% of passengers.“
Changing the threshold down to 90% allows cruise lines operating under “highly vaccinated” voyages to allow more unvaccinated guests to sail. Currently, all the cruise lines opting into the CDC’s program are under “Highly Vacctined” sailings, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Previously, the threshold was 95% for unvaccinated guests. The threshold remains the same at 95% when it comes to the crew members.
In addition to lowering the threshold for vaccinated passengers, the CDC also changed its guidance on isolation onboard cruise ships. Isolation rooms onboard are no longer required to have negative pressure, but the locations must still be predesignated. Guests are exempt from being isolated in the cabin within 36 hours of disembarkation.
Update on Wonder of the Seas
It has been a busy week of news for the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. The ship finished its eastbound transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and is starting 7-night sailings in the western Mediterranean.
From May 8 through October 30, Wonder of the Seas will bring eager guests to sought-after destinations in Italy, France and Spain. Embarkations can be from either Barcelona, Spain, or from Italy.
Wonder of the Seas will depart Barcelona for the last time on October 30 to begin a 14-night transatlantic crossing to reposition to her new permanent homeport, Port Canaveral in Florida.
And more news on the mega-ship, Royal Caribbean has started the search on the social media platform TikTok for the godmother. Using the #SearchForWonderMom hashtag a contest is running to search for the Wonder Mom through Monday, May 16, 2022. The cruise line will then announce the winner to become the ship’s godmother this summer.
The naming ceremony will be held this December. The event will take place when the ship is in her new homeport of Port Canaveral, Florida. The godmother and her family will also be on the exclusive sailing from Port Canaveral to Royal Caribbean’s private island of Perfect Day at CococoCay in the Bahamas.
It will get even better for the Wonder Mom as the family will enjoy a seven-night Caribbean sailing on Wonder of the Seas and stay in the Ultimate Family Suite, first-class flights, and three nights in a five-star hotel before the cruise begins. There will also be $1,000 of spending money.
All Carnival Cruise Ships Back in Service
As Carnival Splendor welcomed her first guests for the first time in over two years on May 2, the full Carnival Cruise Line fleet has now returned to service for the first time since the industry-wide shutdown began in March 2020.
The Carnival Splendor became the final ship in the fleet to return to service when she departed from Smith Cove Cruise Terminal 91 in Seattle, Washington on May 2.
This initial cruise is an 8-day roundtrip sailing that will visit top Alaskan ports of call – Skagway, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, and Ketchikan – as well as Victoria, British Columbia.
Carnival Splendor will continue offering Alaska sailings from Seattle through the end of August, though only this first sailing is an 8-night itinerary. The rest of the ship’s itineraries will be 7-night sailings.
With Carnival Splendor‘s official restart, the full Carnival fleet is finally back in service. And it’s the first major cruise line to do so. Carnival Vista was the very first Carnival cruise ship to restart passenger operations when she set sail on July 3, 2021, from Galveston, Texas.
Over the past 10 months, Carnival Cruise Line has operated a gradual, phased restart, bringing ships back into service one at a time as various ports of call have reopened for travelers.
All Norwegian Cruise Line Ships Back in Service
For the first time in more than two years, the entire Norwegian Cruise Line fleet is back in service! NCL now becomes the second major cruise line to have all cruise ships back with guests.
The final ship in the NCL fleet sets sail today, May 7, from Tahiti in French Polynesia. The 75,904 gross ton Norwegian Spirit sails on a 12-night cruise visiting some of the most stunning islands in the Pacific. She becomes the final ship in the fleet to resume guest operations after more than two years on hold.
Norwegian Spirit will sail the same itinerary three times before repositioning to Vancouver, Canada, to start her season in Alaska.
Norwegian Jade became the first ship in the fleet to resume guest operations on July 25, 2021, out of Athens, Greece. Since then, more vessels have gradually been returning to service and that’s despite some setbacks from the Omicron variant towards the end of 2021 and early 2022.
Norwegian Prima Cruise Canceled Due to Charter
Norwegian Cruise Line informed booked guests and travel partners in the past week that the January 22, 2023 sailing of Norwegian Prima from Port Canaveral has been canceled, due to a full ship charter sailing on that date.
The affected sailing is the 7-night sailing of what will soon be Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima.
The cruise was to have been a Western Caribbean and Bahamas voyage, scheduled to visit Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Grand Cayman, as well as the cruise line’s private island in The Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Two days at sea were also part of the itinerary.
At this time, Norwegian Prima will still be sailing the itinerary as planned, but the voyage is no longer available for public booking as it has been reserved for a private full ship charter.
Already-booked guests will automatically receive a full refund of all monies paid, including the cruise fare, pre-paid gratuities or packages, taxes, and fees.
More Cruise Headlines
If you thought that was all the cruise news, then you’ll need to know there is even more over on cruisehive.com, including the Crown Princess restarting guest operations to Alaska, St. Maarten in the Caribbean has welcomed 282 cruise ship visits in the first four months of 2022, protocol updates by Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises revamps its loyalty program, a business update from Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival cruise ship responds to a distress signal from a sailboat, and more.