Cruise News Update: October 23, 2021

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Here’s your cruise news update with all the major stories from the week with some cancellations, itinerary changes, and even a cruise that lasts for an incredible 274-nights.

Cruise News Update

It’s time to get updated on all the latest cruise news and as usual, it was another busy week across the cruise industry. We’ve got updates on cruise lines now accepting guests with mixed vaccination, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship forced to cancel, itinerary changes for three Carnival cruise ships, Holland America’s new ship sails, and of course that Ultimate World Cruise announced by Royal Caribbean.

The World Cruise of a Lifetime!

So let’s start with the big news of the week, which Royal Caribbean was building up to for a day or so thanks to a social media post by the cruise line’s CEO.

It’s going to be a cruise to remember, with Serenade of the Seas sailing a 274-night Ultimate World Cruise which will be the longest out there. The voyage will commence from Miami, Florida, on December 10, 2023, and end back in Miami on September 10, 2024. Guests are pretty much living on the ship for almost a year.

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Akimov Igor /

As usual, when it comes to long world cruises, the voyage can be split up into segments, and guests don’t have to sail the full 274 nights. Four different expeditions are shorter, and each covers different regions around the world.

  • Round the Horn: Americas and Antarctica Expedition. Departs December 10, 2023 from Miami, Florida and ends in Los Angeles, California on February 11, 2024. The itinerary includes three continents, 36 destinations and four wonders
  • Wonders of Asia and the Pacific Expedition. Departs Los Angeles, California on February 11, 2024 and ends in Dubai, UAE on May 9, 2024. The itinerary covers three continents, 40 destinations and three wonders.
  • Middle East Treasures and Marvels of the Med Expedition. Departs on May 9, 2024 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and ends in Barcelona, Spain on July 10, 2024. The voyage covers three continents, 44 destinations and four wonders.
  • Capitals of Culture. Departs on July 10, 2024 from Barcelona, Spain and ends in Miami, Florida on September 10, 2024. This will be the end of the entire 274 nights and includes three continents and 40 destinations

So bookings are open to everyone from October 26 and it’s going to be interesting to see how this one-of-a-kind cruise will sell. The cheapest price for an interior stateroom starts from $54,899 per person with a Pay-In-Full savings of 10%. Otherwise, it would cost $60,999 per person for an interior.

What do you think of the world cruise from Royal Caribbean? You might have to rob a bank or something to be able to go. Do let us know in the comments below what you think.

Rotterdam Maiden Voyage

Holland America Line’s Rotterdam cruise ship departed on its maiden voyage on Wednesday, October 20, from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The vessel is now sailing a 14-day transatlantic crossing that will end at the ship’s new homeport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

It was a huge moment for the cruise line, which is still resuming cruise operations across the fleet due to the suspension of operations that first started in Spring 2020. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony held to welcome guests on board for the first time.

Rotterdam Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

Following the maiden voyage, Rotterdam will sail Caribbean cruises from November 2021 through April 2024 from Fort Lauderdale. The ship will offer a range of six- to 11-day itineraries covering the entire region. There will also be Holland America Collectors’ Voyage that offers more in-depth exploration on back-to-back cruises.

All cruises that Rotterdam will sail include a call at the cruise line’s private island Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. It’s always a popular and much-loved visit for guests with Holland America and Carnival Cruise Line. The ship has a guest capacity of 2,668, and the gross tonnage is 99,500.

Princess Cruises Terminal Testing

While the CDC’s testing requirements before a cruise certainly do offer cruise lines the chance to avoid possible positive cases onboard, the timeline of testing within 48 hours before departure is causing significant issues for many passengers.

Especially those flying in from destinations far away from the embarkation port are facing difficulties. To help these guests out, Princess Cruises now offers testing at the terminal as a backup.

Princess Cruises
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia /

The testing procedure at the terminal will not come cheaply, and guests will certainly choose to have this as a backup option only. At $150 per person, terminal testing is considerably more expensive than standard options such as Walgreens and other private testing facilities. Therefore, the cruise line stresses that guests should only use the terminal testing option if they have not received their results in time.

Besides testing before the cruise starts, guests will likely also undergo testing onboard the ship during longer voyages. This will be done on select cruises, including Panama Canal Full Transit and trips of 15 days or longer.

The onboard test will likely occur 3-5 days into the cruise. For voyages 15 days and longer specifically, Princess Cruises will test guests every seven days.

Cruise Lines Accept Guests With Mixed Vaccines

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line have all updated their protocols to now allow guests onboard with mixed vaccination. The cruise lines have been busy updating details on their websites.

With the wording slightly different for each cruise line, it’s all pretty much the same with guests being called fully vaccinated with mixed vaccines that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or have an emergency-use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Mixed Vaccines
Photo Credit: oasisamuel /

So, for example, guests can still be classed fully vaccinated if they have mixed dosages such as 1 dose of the AstraZeneca plus 1 dose of the Pfizer or Moderna at least 14 days before departure. Those participating in the U.S. Novavax clinical trial and receiving the final dose will also be accepted to be fully vaccinated.

There are some exceptions to accepting guests with mixed vacations due to ports of call that may not follow the same protocols. The ports in other countries may follow a different set of guidelines that don’t necessarily align with the CDC.

it’s all still changing, so don’t forget to always check for the latest updates from the cruise line if you do have a cruise booking in the coming months.

Carnival Cruise Line Changes Itineraries

Even though the cruise industry is making a comeback, it’s not entirely straightforward, including ongoing itinerary changes and port adjustments for Carnival Cruise Line. The communication sent out impacts three Carnival cruise ships, including two itineraries for Carnival Legend out of Baltimore, two itineraries for Carnival Horizon from Miami, and 11 itineraries for Carnival Sunrise, also from Miami.

Carnival Legend’s November 14, 2021, February 13, 2022, and November 27, 2022 sailings will now be to Nassau, Princess Cays, and Freeport, all in the Bahamas. The ship’s December 26, 2022, and January 22, 2023 sailings are changed to Princess Cays, Nassau, and Freeport, all in the Bahamas.

Carnival Horizon Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Yingna Cai /

For Carnival Horizon cruises out Miami, Florida, there are just two itinerary changes. The November 21, 2021 itinerary will no longer include a call to Bimini, and the ship will instead feature a visit to Nassau in the Bahamas. The December 5, 2021 cruise will have a total change and will no longer be calling at Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Instead, the voyage will be a Bahamas itinerary to Bimini, Half Moon Cay, and Amber Cove.

The impact for Carnival Sunrise will be across 11 different select itineraries from November 20, 2021, to November 19, 2022. Here are the specific new itineraries for the ship on departures out of Miami, Florida:

  • November 20, 2021: Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Bimini
  • November 29, 2021: Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport
  • December 4 & 28, 2021: Ocho Rios and Bimini
  • December 9, 2021: Princess Cays and Bimini
  • December 13, 2021: Ocho Rios and Nassau
  • December 23, 2021: Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau
  • January 15, 2022; February 12, 2022; March 26, 2022 and February 11, 2023: Amber Cove and Grand Turk
  • January 20, 2022, and April 12, 2022: Princess Cays and Nassau
  • March 12, 2022: Grand Turk, Princess Cays, Nassau
  • April 9, 2022: Nassau, Princess Cays and Grand Turk
  • November 19, 2022: Nassau and Princess Cays

Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Cancelled

The restart of operations for Spectrum of the Seas has not been smooth so far. After operations started on October 14, Royal Caribbean was forced by the Hong Kong Department of Health to cancel the October 21 cruise.

Spectrum of the Seas had been scheduled to sail a ‘Seacation,’ where the vessel would be at sea close to port for four nights on a cruise to nowhere. The reason is an initial positive test for a crew member on board.

The crew member, who had been fully vaccinated, and had been infected with the disease before in July of this year, tested positive for COVID-19 with very low viral loads during routine tests onboard.

Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Vladimir Arndt /

The crew member was brought ashore for further tests. 1,000 out of 1,200 guests who had started boarding were told by the Captain that Royal Caribbean had cancelled the cruise, and all guests were to undergo compulsory testing.

As it stands now, it seems the crew member has tested negative in subsequent tests in a local hospital. The cancellation comes as Hong Kong experiences some of the strictest measures worldwide. The city has reported just over 12,300 cases and 213 deaths.

And developing from the initial cancellation of the single cruise, authorities have now blocked Spectrum of the Seas from sailing for 21 days.

More Cruise Headlines

So those are just some of the cruise news headlines from the week, we’ve got even including Viking Cruises sailing from Fort Lauderdale for the first time, Carnival Radiance completes transformation and heads for the U.S., Half Price cruises from Princess Cruises, seven Celebrity cruise ships to sail Europe in 2023 and more.

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