Cruise News Update: October 1, 2022

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In what was a busy week of itinerary changes and cancellations across the cruise industry, there were also other cruise news updates on ships making returns, protocol updates, and a new ship godmother revealed.

Cruise News Update

In this week’s cruise round-up, we’ve got coverage of the major stories from the past week. If you’re looking for all the latest impacts due to Hurricane Ian, you can go through our news page here.

We’ve got coverage on the announcement of Carnival Celebration’s godmother, a Celebrity cruise ship making a return to Los Angeles, a Carnival cruise ship making a return to Sydney, new protocols updates from Royal Caribbean and Disney, along with Canada finally dropping all travel requirements.

Godmother Revealed for Carnival Celebration

Carnival Crusie Line has announced who will be the godmother for its newest cruise shipCarnival Celebration. Continuing a family tradition, the daughter of Kathie Lee Gifford, actress Cassidy Gifford has been given the honor.

By naming Cassidy Gifford as Godmother for Carnival Celebration, the cruise line continues a family tradition for the Giffords. The family ties with Carnival Cruise Line go back to the 1980s when her mother served as Carnival’s spokesperson in the company’s groundbreaking television campaigns and, at the same time, served as Godmother for the original Carnival Celebration cruise ship.

Cassidy Gifford
Cassidy Gifford (Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line)

Cassidy Gifford is no stranger to Carnival Cruise Line. Ever since she was an infant, she has sailed on many cruises with her mom and with her dad, the late Frank Gifford, who was an NFL and sports broadcasting legend.

Cassidy has been acting from a young age and is best known for her work in the box office hits God’s Not Dead and Warner Brothers’ The Gallows. She has appeared in many other television and film roles. She currently lives with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee.

The naming ceremony, in which Cassidy Gifford will play an important role, will take place on November 20 in Miami. The ship’s maiden voyage will take place two weeks before, on November 6. Setting sail from Southampton in the UK, she will visit several ports in Spain and Portugal before arriving at her new homeport. 

Celebrity Cruises Returns to LA

On September 24, Celebrity Solstice headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from Los Angeles, California, for the first time in over eight years.

This is the first time Celebrity Cruises has offered a full season of Mexican Riviera sailings in 15 years, which also marked a milestone as Celebrity Solstice made its initial debut in the market.

Celebrity Solstice Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Celebrity Cruises

In kicking off its full season of Mexican Riviera sailings, the 121,878-ton ship will now offer five-, seven-, and eight-night itinerary options that visit ports of call in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada.

These new offerings are available on the line’s first Solstice-class ship now through April 2023, all departing from the West Coast port, Port of Los Angeles.

Previous to its Mexican Riviera sailings, Celebrity Solstice was sailing seven-day round-trip Alaskan itineraries, and then took two one-way cruises leading to its new Port of Los Angeles offerings. It also comes after the cruise line canceled the vessel’s originally scheduled deployment in Asia.

Carnival Splendor Returns to Sydney

After a 23-day transpacific cruise that departed Seattle, Washington, on September 6, Carnival Splendor arrived in her homeport Sydney, Australia. In the past 23 days, guests got to experience everything the pacific has to offer with visits to Hawaii, Fiji, and a crossing of the international date line.

Carnival Splendor is the first cruise ship in almost three years to arrive Down Under, carrying international guests onboard. Australia has been largely locked down for most of the Pandemic, only opening up for domestic cruises in the past months.

Carnival Splendor in Sydney
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

As she arrived in Sydney harbor, Carnival Splendor was escorted by sister-brand P&O Cruises Australia’s ship Pacific Adventure before sailing past the landmark Sydney Opera House and arriving at the Port of Sydney. Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line’s President, was on hand to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Carnival Splendor is a 113,300 gross tons Splendor-class cruise ship built in 2008. She has space for 3012 guests at double occupancy, which are taken care of by some 1,150 crew members. The ship operated in Australia between 2019 and 2020 before the pandemic forced Carnival to reposition the ship to Alaska earlier this year.

Canada Drops Travel Requirements

All of Canada’s pandemic-related travel restrictions officially end on October 1, 2022. This will be great news for cruise travelers, who will no longer need to meet stricter requirements than compared to other regional cruise homeports and destinations.

The measures, which have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic, were never meant to be permanent, though Canada has been much more cautious in easing restrictions as other countries have removed such policies in the past few months.

Cruise Ship in Canada
Photo Credit: Anne Richard / Shutterstock

As of October 1, all travelers, regardless of Canadian or international citizenship, will no longer be required to:

  • Be vaccinated
  • Enter health data into the ArriveCan app
  • Submit pre-cruise (or pre-arrival) test results
  • Be quarantined or isolated if testing positive or exposed
  • Report developing symptoms
  • Wear masks on planes or trains

With respect to cruise travel, Canada is aligning its standards more with what is required from the United States in terms of onboard measures to protect passengers and crew members in case of an outbreak.

Following the decision from the Canadian government to remove all travel restrictions earlier this week, Royal Caribbean has responded quickly with a new set of measures guests will need to comply with. In effect, most conditions have been removed for the coming two cruises in October.

For guests cruising onboard Royal Caribbean specifically, it means that the vaccination mandate has gone, with Royal now only highly recommending a vaccine. Taking proof of vaccination with you when you cruise is still a good idea, as local authorities or businesses in some destinations require it for entrance.

Disney Drops Vaccine Mandate

Disney Cruise Line has announced a significant change to its COVID-19 protocols, introducing relaxed measures that will allow guests who have not been fully vaccinated to step onboard the Disney cruise ships once again.

Starting on October 14, guests boarding Disney Wish for the 3-night Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral will be the first group to take advantage of the new protocols. 

These protocols include that fully vaccinated guests do not need to provide proof of a negative test result. To be exempt from testing requirements, fully vaccinated guests should still upload their proof of vaccination to the Inspire Diagnostics Safe Passage website by midnight before embarkation day.

Disney Wish Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Port Canaveral

Guests who have not been fully vaccinated will be required to provide a COVID-19 test taken one or two days before the sail date. The test may be a medically observed antigen test, rapid or lab-based PCR test, or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). 

If unvaccinated guests have recently recovered from COVID and can provide appropriate documentation, they will also be exempt from the testing requirement.

Children ages four and younger do not need to be vaccinated, nor do they need to provide a negative test result. Disney Cruise Line does still recommend that all guests get tested before sailing.

If guests are sailing on back-to-back cruises, they will not be required to be tested in between cruises, as long as they are fully vaccinated. Guests without vaccination will be provided a test by Disney Cruise Line.

More Cruise Headlines

It was a busy week across the cruise industry, especially due to impacted cruises out of Florida due to Hurricane Ian, which we covered extensively on Cruise Hive. Other stories covered include a business update from Carnival on its nice cruise brands, Tropical Storm Orlene impacted two Princess cruise ships, six new entertainment shows for the new MSC Seascape, a second expedition vessel delivered to Viking Cruises, Carnival Luminosa completing dry dock and so much more.

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