Weekly Cruise News Update: June 6, 2021

The latest breaking cruise news from the week as the US cruise industry makes a comeback and returns to service.

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As the US cruise industry starts to make a comeback, cruise lines are releasing their restart plans along with new ship arrivals and the ongoing requirements for a safe return this summer. We’ve got you covered with a week of breaking cruise news.

Cruise News Update

What a week of cruise news it has been! There is so much happening at the moment as cruise lines detail their restart plans, and the CDC quickly starts to approve test and restricted sailings. We’ve only been away from doing news round-ups for two weeks, and the situation has changed so much as the US cruise industry finally begins to make a comeback.

So in this weeks update, we’ve got more cancellations from Princess Cruises, all the cruise ships that have so far been approved for a simulated or restricted sailing by the CDC, the latest on the Florida lawsuit against the CDC on resuming cruises, the new Mardi Gras arriving into port Canaveral for the first time and breaking news with Royal Caribbean releasing its restart plan and further cancellations.

Princess Cruises Cancels Canada New England Sailings

With the Canadian Transport Ministry’s ongoing interim order that blocks cruise ships until February 28, 2022, Princess Cruises has no choice but to cancel its Canada and New England sailings out of New York for the remainder of the year. The further cancelations impact sailings on the Caribbean Princess departing on August 28, September 4, 11, 18, and 25; October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and November 6, 2021.

Guests will have the option to shift their booking to Enchanted Princess in 2022 and protecting the cruise fare. There are also more options including a future cruise credit and a full refund which can be requested online.

With President Biden recently signing the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, Princess Cruises will still save what remains of the 2021 Alaska season. The new act enables cruise ships to sail to the region without calling in Canada. Previously, cruise ships would have to visit a foreign port under the Passenger Vessel Services Act.

CDC Cruise Ship Approvals

The CDC has been in an approval rampage with multiple cruise ships now able to operate a simulated sailing or a restricted voyages. Celebrity Edge is the first cruise ship to receive permission to sail with regular passengers from the US starting on June 26 out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Celebrity Equinox will also be able to resume sailings under the restricted format starting on July 4 also out of Fort Lauderdale.

For Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas was the first cruise ship to be approved for a simulated sailing departing PortMiami on June 20. The CDC has since given more test cruise approvals, including two oasis-class ships out of Port Canaveral.

Cruise Ships Docked in Miami
Photo Credit: Philip Lange / Shutterstock.com

Allure of the Seas will depart on July 27, and the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will depart on August 1. Another two Royal Caribbean cruise ships have received the green lights for test sailings, with Independence of the Seas departing on August 13 and Mariner of the Seas on August 11.

Carnival Cruise Line has been approved for simulated sailings with Carnival Vista out of Galveston, Texas, and Carnival Horizon out of PortMiami, Florida. The cruise line has not yet revealed when those test cruises will take place but they will be sometime before the two ships resume operations in July. Disney Dream will sail a test cruise out of Port Canaveral on June 29 and even the Grand Classica cruise ship operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will sail a simulated voyage out of West Palm Beach on July 2.

Mediation Collapses

The Florida lawsuit against the CDC to allow cruises to restart has still not been decided. In a new development, the mediation that the Judge ordered in May has now collapsed. The CDC and the state of Florida, backed by Alaska and Texas, have not been able to resolve their differences, mainly about the Conditional Sailing Order, which includes requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers and crew.

CDC Entrance Sign
Photo Credit: Raed Mansour (Flickr / Creative Commons 2.0)

This is not the end, and maybe by the time we do get a result, the cruise lines might already be sailing! The issue will now head back to the Judge, so do keep checking Cruise Hive for any new developments.

Mardi Gras Arrives at Port Canaveral

Friday was a huge day for the cruise industry as Carnival’s Mardi Gras cruise ship arrived in Port Canaveral for the first time. It marks a major step forward for the cruise line in restarting cruise operations. It was the first time the ship arrived in the US, and the day was even bigger when Mardi Gras was joined by Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship Odyssey of the Seas.

Carnival Mardi Gras Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Mardi Gras arrived on Friday morning and was welcomed by more than 1,500 people at Jetty Park along with many more at the port’s new Terminal 3 LaunchPad facility. An event was also held at the terminal showcasing just how important the arrival of Carnival’s first LNG-powered cruise ship is on the local economy.

The ship will now begin preparing for the resumption of cruise operations. More crew members will join the vessel to fill up the crew capacity to 1,750, and they will be trained on all the procedures not just for health but also due to Mardi Gras being a new class of ship. She will eventually sail year-round out of Port Canaveral on week-long eastern and western Caribbean cruises.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships to Restart

It has been a huge week for Royal Caribbean with the big comeback announced including eight cruise ships to resume sailing from the US this summer. It will all begin with Freedom of the Seas on July 2 out of Miami, Florida. The ship will sail a special fourth of July weekend sailing, and this follows the ship’s simulated sailing that the CDC recently approved for the end of June.

Symphony of the Seas Docked in Miami
Photo Credit: Russell Otway

Odyssey of the Seas, which arrived in the US for the first time on Friday morning, will begin sailing in July. The new cruise ship will depart on July 3 out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and offer new 6- and 8-night Caribbean cruises.

Here is the complete list of ships restarting from the US:

  • Freedom of the Seas* – 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Miami, starting July 2
  • Odyssey of the Seas*– 6- and 8-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, starting July 3
  • Serenade of the Seas – 7-night Alaska sailings from Seattle, starting July 19
  • Allure of the Seas– 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 8
  • Ovation of the Seas –7-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle, starting Aug. 13 
  • Symphony of the Seas – 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami, starting Aug. 14
  • Independence of the Seas*– 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15
  • Mariner of the Seas – 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 23

There will also be a Royal Caribbean cruise ship restarting operations in Europe. Harmony of the Seas will start Mediterranean itineraries including calls to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and a call in France starting on August 15.

We also already know that Adventure of the Seas will soon be sailing out of Nassau, Bahamas from June 12. Jewel of the Seas will begin cruises from Cyprus in July and Anthem of the Seas will also start sailing from the UK in July.

All Royal Caribbean crew members will be fully vaccinated once cruises begin with more than half of the fleet already partially or fully vaccinated. It looks like the cruise line is splitting things up for US cruises as fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests can cruise. However, there will be more strict health measures for those who are not yet fully vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean Cancellations

Even though there are Royal Caribbean cruise ships returning to service this summer, there are others that will remain on hold for even longer.

Docked Royal Caribbean Ships

For those vessels, Royal Caribbean has now extended its suspension through August 2021. Here are the ships that will remain on hold for even longer:

  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas

The ships won’t begin to resume sailings until September at the earliest and it will be a gradual return rather than all at the same time. Royal Caribbean is offering a number of options for guests affected by the further cancellations.

There is an option for a 125% future cruise credit, a Lift and Shift option where guests can move to a similar sailing the following year and the option for a full refund.

Even More Cruise News

There you go with some of the major cruise news stories from the week. It has been jam-packed recently with plenty of new developments and we’ve got everything you need to know including Royal Caribbean releasing health protocols for Adventure of the Seas cruises out of the Bahamas, MSC Cruises restarting cruises out of Barcelona, Carnival cruise ship completes dry dock in France and a fascinating story on a full-scale Titanic replica under construction for a theme park in China.

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