Here’s your weekly round-up of all the biggest cruise news stories across the major cruise lines. It’s been a busy week of protocol extensions, cancellations, and restarts.
Cruise News Update
We’ve had a non-stop week of cruise news as the cruise industry is well and truly back, unless you’re in Australia, as there are further cancellations down under. We’ve also got big news from Carnival Cruise Line on its third Excel-class vessel, extended protocols, and an update on the cruise line’s ship restarts.
There’s even more coverage on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, Princess Cruises’ new ship, Enchanted Princess, and a cancellation for Norwegian Cruise Line’s flagship, Norwegian Encore.
In This Article…
Odyssey of the Seas Naming
We start with some breaking cruise news as Royal Caribbean’s newest ship in the fleet, Odyssey of the Seas, is having its naming ceremony today (November 13, 2021).
The cruise line celebrates the naming of the Quantum-ultra class cruise ship with godmother Erin Brown, the first Bahamian godmother of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The 41-year-old is a mother of two and a paratriathlete competing at the international level.
The ceremony takes place at the start of a special two-night voyage from the ship’s homeport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There will be a call at the cruise line’s private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas during the cruise.
Odyssey of the Seas first restarted guest operations on July 31, 2021, in Florida and is sailing six- and eight-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises.
Carnival Ship Restart Update
On to more big news with Carnival Cruise Line announcing restart dates for more ships that are still waiting to resume guest operations. 15 Carnival cruise ships are already in service, and they will be joined by Carnival Sensation from Mobile on March 5, Carnival Ecstasy from Jacksonville on March 7, and Carnival Paradise from Tampa on March 12. The entire U.S. fleet will be back by the end of March 2022.
And while we’re on the topic, another Carnival cruise ship is restarting operations for the first time since suspensions started in March 2020.
Carnival Legend will begin sailings from Baltimore on November 14. The ship is replacing the Carnival Pride, which is shifting from Baltimore to become the first Carnival vessel to restart from Tampa, Florida, also on November 14.
Carnival Extends Protocols
Carnival Cruise Line has now decided to extend its vaccinated sailings through March 2022. It does mean that protocols are to remain in place to keep guests protected across the fleet, including beyond the end of the CDC Conditional Sailing Order on January 15, 2022.
The cruise line is making some changes for unvaccinated guests concerning exemptions. Carnival had previously closed exemption requests for sailings in 2022 but has now reopened the option for sailings through March 31, 2022.
It comes as U.S. health officials have now approved the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 5-11. Due to Carnival having to confirm the total number of vaccinated guests for each sailing, guests who request an exemption will only be notified if they are approved until much closer to the sailing date.
With the vaccine being approved for kids, it also allows the cruise line to reopen its Camp Ocean offering from December 10. This will only be for fully vaccinated kids and there could still be limitations in place.
Enchanted Princess Begins Sailings
The long-awaited and stunningly designed newest cruise ship in the Princess Cruises fleet, Enchanted Princess, finally began sailing with guests from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on her long-awaited maiden voyage on November 10.
The ship will be sailing the Caribbean for the next six months until she repositions to Europe in April of next year. Enchanted Princess offers guests a fully updated and modernized Medallion-class experience, ample dining and relaxation options, including 25 bars and restaurants.
Enchanted Princess sailed on the first of fifteen 10-day cruises from Fort Lauderdale. These cruises can also be combined with longer 20-day voyages, which call in 12 different Caribbean ports. The 145,000 gross ton ship’s first port of call was at Princess Cays in the Bahamas the voyage also includes St. Thomas, Dominica, Curacao, and Aruba, before heading back to Fort Lauderdale on November 20.
Norwegian Encore Cancellation
Guests booked on Norwegian Encore’s November 14 cruise out of Miami, Florida, have been informed that the voyage has been cancelled. Norwegian Cruise Line said the ship was delayed by two days arriving in Miami. No other reason was provided.
The delay does come as Norwegian Encore remained off the coast of Panama waiting to transit the Canal. It’s likely the ship’s transit was delayed due to traffic through the Canal. The ship was scheduled to arrive in Miami on November 13, a day before starting guest operations from the port.
The vessel was scheduled to depart Miami on November 14 on a seven-day Caribbean cruise, including a call in the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Tortola, and the cruise line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.
The ship is repositioning to Miami after completing its deployment out of Seattle, Washington to Alaska. After being on pause for 17 months, Norwegian Encore was the first in the fleet to restart operations in the U.S. on August 7, 2021.
Cancellations in Australia
With no clear pathway on resuming cruise operations in Australia, cruise lines are extending their pause in the country including two Carnival-owned cruise brands.
P&O Australia has decided to cancel the seasons from three homeports during 2022 due to the uncertainty in resuming cruise operations in the country and those regions. The cruise line has cancelled sailings from Adelaide from February 2022 to March 28, 2022. Cruises from Fremantle are cancelled from April 2, 2022, to April 25, 2022. The season out of Cairns is also cancelled from June 2, 2022, to June 29, 2022.
For Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Splendor sailings are now cancelled through March 4, 2021, and Carnival Spirit sailings are cancelled through March 6, 2021.
Carnival’s Third Excel-Class Ship
Carnival cruise line continues to rename its new Excel-class cruise ships after its former older vessels. The third ship in the new generation class will be named Carnival Jubilee, 37 years after the original Carnival Jubilee cruise ship, which first entered service in 1986 and was part of the Holiday-class.
The third Excel-class vessel will be identical to her sister ships and fully powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The ship will be 182,800 gross tons and have a guest capacity of more than 5,400 at double occupancy, along with 1,700 international crew members.
It’s also been revealed that Carnival Jubilee will be based out of the Port of Galveston in Texas when she debuts in 2023. It will be the largest ever Carnival cruise ship to ever sail from Galveston and follows the original vessel that also sailed from the port in 2002.
Carnival Jubilee will be sailing on seven-day western Caribbean itineraries from the Port of Galveston. Bookings will open in early 2022, and the cruise line will release more specific itinerary details by that time.
More Cruise Headlines
It has been a busy week of cruise news and we’ve got all the coverage and latest developments including, Royal Caribbean Group’s CEO is stepping down after more than 33 years in the position, Disney Cruise Line completes deal for cruises out of Port Everglades, Carnival Miracle’s Hawaii voyage is cancelled, Royal Caribbean extends its protocols through March 2022, NCL launches its biggest sale ever and there are many more stories to read up on over on the website.