Cruising's Long-Awaited Return
It's been an entire year since cruise lines were forced to suspend operations due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic but many companies are still on standby in terms of the resumption of cruise operations. Here's where the major cruise lines stand as of spring 2021.
Azamara plans to return to service with new health protocols in place on August 28 with cruises from Greece aboard the Azamara Quest, which will be available to fully vaccinated passengers. Meanwhile, Azamara Journey and Azamara Pursuit are suspended until September. The cruise line currently has its sights set on growth without losing focus on its "Destination Immersion" style of cruising.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line is seeking approval from the CDC to operate as many as four ships from U.S. ports in the near future. The cruise line hopes to sail Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze from Galveston, Carnival Horizon from Miami and Carnival Miracle from Seattle. However, all other Carnival cruises have been canceled through July 30, 2021. "We continue to have constructive discussions with the CDC but still have many questions that remain unanswered. We are working diligently to resume sailing in the U.S. and meet the CDC guidelines," Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said in a recent statement. "We sincerely appreciate the continued patience and understanding of our guests and travel advisor partners and will share additional information as quickly as we can."
Celestyal Cruises is currently planning to resume operations on May 29, 2021 sailing Celestyal Crystal from Athens (Piraeus), Greece. The seven-night itinerary includes visits to Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Lavrion, Mykonos, Milos and Crete. The cruise line recently added the 1,800-passenger Costa NeoRomantica to its fleet.
Crystal Cruises recently announced that it plans to restart cruising with new close-to-home Bahamas Escapes beginning July 3, 2021. The cruise line will offer 16 seven-night, round-trip sailings from Nassau on Crystal Serenity. Crystal will also sail 16 seven-night voyages round-trip from Bimini starting July 4, 2021. "Like our guests, we have been eagerly looking forward to the day we can welcome them back on board, and we’re thrilled that this day will come in the Bahamas," Jack Anderson, Crystal’s interim president and CEO said in a statement. "The new Bahamas Escapes cruises will allow travelers to enjoy luxury cruising now, as well as bring much-needed benefits to the local workforce, airlines, restaurants, retailers and hotels for pre- and post-cruise stays." Meanwhile, Crystal plans to offer its first Crystal Expedition Cruise in Iceland as early as July 17, 2021. The cruise line also announced more than a dozen new Caribbean sailings departing roundtrip from St. Maarten this coming August through December.
Cunard Line has extended its pause in operations into May due to "ongoing travel constraints across the world." Sailings aboard Queen Victoria are scheduled to resume May 17, 2021, while Queen Mary 2 voyages have been canceled through May 28, 2021. Queen Elizabeth sailings are currently canceled through June 4, 2021.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line recently announced that it will suspend all cruises through at least June 2021 and has canceled all sailings aboard the Disney Magic with sailings from European ports through September 18, 2021. In addition to a full refund, impacted customers who have already paid for their cruise in full have the option to receive a 125 percent future cruise credit to be used before September 30, 2022.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line recently extended its pause of European and Seattle roundtrip Alaska cruise operations to include departures through June 30, 2021. The cruise line had already extended its operations pause for all departures through April 30, 2021, additionally canceling all sailings of eight or more days calling in the U.S. through November 1, 2021.
MSC Cruises has extended its suspension of sailing from the U.S. through June 30, 2021, a decision that affects MSC Divina, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia. Meanwhile, MSC Grandiosa resumed operations in Europe last year and the brand's newest ship, MSC Virtuosa, will make her maiden voyage from Southampton, U.K., for a mini-cruise on May 20, 2021. MSC Seaside will sail seven-night Mediterranean cruises throughout summer 2021 starting May 1, 2021.
Princess Cruises has canceled all sailings through May 14, 2021, and cruises from Seattle through June 27, 2021. Meanwhile, cruises from Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale and Rome have been cut through June 30, 2021, and all sailings of eight or more days to and from the U.S. have been canceled through November 1, 2021.