Cruise News Update: November 27, 2021

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It’s another busy week of cruise news covering all the major cruise lines as even more ships make a return to service. We’ve also got some great news on ports.

Cruise News Update

It’s time to get into all the latest cruise news as cruise lines continue to push forward with bringing more cruise ships back into service. We’ve got an update on the next two Carnival ships that are restarting, another Holland America ship that has resumed from Florida, a busy day for the popular Caribbean destination of St. Maarten, Grand Cayman allows the first cruise ship since the start of the pandemic to make a call in December and a delay on resuming operations for two Princess cruise ships.

Two Carnival Ships Restart in December

Carnival Cruise Line continues to move forward on bringing more cruise ships back into service including the Carnival Conquest and Carnival Radiance in December.

The 110,000 gross ton, 2,980 passenger Carnival Conquest will make a return to cruising on December 13 when she sails on her first cruise in twenty months from PortMiami. The first cruise will be a four-day sailing from Miami to Princess Cays and Bimini, both in the Bahamas.

The ship will combine cruises to the Bahamas, which also include cruises to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Guests will also be able to sail on a 4-day cruise sailing to Cozumel, Mexico.

Carnival Conquest Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: SeregaSibTravel /

On December 13, Carnival Radiance will set sail on a series of 3- and 4-day cruises that will see her sail from Long Beach, California, year-round. Her maiden voyage will be a 4-day cruise setting sail from Long Beach and heading over to Catalina Island, and Ensenada, Mexico, with a day at sea before arriving back at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal in California. The 3-day cruises will have a stop in Ensenada only and a day at sea.

The ship was recently transformed during a dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, and is now currently preparing to begin operations on the west coast. The naming ceremony will also take place on December 13 with the ship being named by Dr. Lucille O’Neal, the mother of the cruise line’s Cheif Fun Officer Shaquille O’Neal.

Princess Cruises Delays Restart for Two Ships

Princess Cruises’ return to service had been going smoothly with multiple ships already back in service. However, the much-anticipated restarts for Island Princess from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and Crown Princess from Los Angeles in California are delayed.

Princess Cruises did not go into the specific reason for the delayed restart for the two ships. The only reason was to enable a further staggered return to service. This could be related to getting enough vaccinated crew to the ships and more time to prepare.

Crown Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt /

Island Princess cruises are now cancelled through April 17, 2022. The ship will finally restart operations on April 27, 2022, from Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day Panama Canal voyage. Crown Princess cruises are now cancelled through April 29, 2022. The ship will return from Los Angeles on May 7, 2022, on a seven-day voyage to Alaska.

The 2,200 passenger Island Princess was previously scheduled to restart sailings on March 6. The 3,080 passenger Crown Princess was previously scheduled to resume cruises on February 13.

Holland America Ship Returns to Service

The Pinnacle-class vessel Nieuw Statendam restarted service on November 21 for the first time since the start of the industry-wide pause in 2020. Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and became the fifth ship in the fleet to be back sailing.

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the terminal at Port Everglades to officially open embarkation. As guests arrived on board, crew members provided a warm welcome with waving flags.

Nieuw Statendam Return to Service
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

Guests are enjoying a seven-day western Caribbean cruise that includes a call at Nassau in the Bahamas, Ocho Rios and Port Royal, Jamaica; and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahamas.

Nieuw Statendam will continue to sail from the port through April 2022 on a range of Caribbean cruises from seven to 11 days. The cruise line also offers even longer Collectors’ Voyages, back-to-back voyages that offer a more cultural experience and in-depth exploration.

Six Cruise Ships in St. Maarten

As cruise lines bring more cruise ships back to service safely, Caribbean cruise ports are becoming busy once again, with thousands of visitors bringing much-needed income to economies.

St. Maarten has been among the busiest cruise destinations so far since cruise ships started returning to service in the summer. On November 24, the port had six cruise ships, the busiest day in over 20 months. The vessels brought in more than 7,500 guests and crew to the island, a positive step for local businesses.

Cruise Ships in St. Maarten
Photo Credit: Mark Williams

The vessels in St. Maarten on November 24 included Sky Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, AIDAluna, and AIDAdiva ships operated by German-based AIDA Cruises, Marella Discovery operated by British-based Marella Cruises.

There were also two Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Explorer of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas. All the ships were docked between the two cruise piers at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility. There were also two cargo vessels stopping at the island, increasing the total number of ships to eight.

First Cruise to Return to Grand Cayman

Although cruise ships are not a part of the Cayman Islands government’s border reopening Phase 4 plan, Seattle-based Holland America Line received permission from local officials to call at George Town, Grand Cayman on December 28, 2021. The cruise line and the local government agreed on terms and conditions designed to minimize the risk of local transmission of COVID-19.

Holland America Cruise Ship at Grand Cayman
Photo Credit: Feng Cheng /

Under these protocols, George Town in Grand Cayman must be the first port of call for Nieuw Statendam on that cruise. The number of passengers on board the vessel cannot exceed 60% of the vessel’s capacity or 1,600 passengers. Grand Cayman will be the first call on a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean, departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on December 26.

The Cayman Islands have had its borders closed for tourists since March 16, 2020. Only last week, on November 20, did the country open up again for tourists to start returning in more significant numbers. Some tourists had been allowed in under strict protocols.

We will have to wait and see to know if any more cruise ships could be allowed to visit Grand Cayman following the Holland America cruise ship. Previously, the plan was to reopen to cruises in early 2022.

More Cruise Headlines

Those were just a handful of the cruise news stories from the week, we’ve got even more, including Dream Cruises increasing its guest capacity to 75 percent, the possibility of cruise ships being limited in Key West again, three more Royal Caribbean cruise ships to restart in December and another Caribbean cruise port welcomes its first cruise ship since reopening in August 2021.

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