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 heading into spring 2021.
Azamara, which Royal Caribbean Group sold to private equity firm Sycamore Partners earlier this year, is suspending operations through June 30, 2021. 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 has canceled operations from U.S. ports through May 31, 2021. "We continue to work on plans to resume operations and are encouraged by the focus to expedite vaccine production and distribution which are having a demonstrated impact on improving public health," the cruise line's president Christine Duffy said in a statement last month.
"We appreciate the support of all of our guests, employees and trade partners who we know are looking forward to our return." Carnival's newest ship, Mardi Gras, was scheduled to make its inaugural voyage on April 24 but the launch date has since been pushed back to May 29, 2021.
Celestyal Cruises is currently planning to resume operations on May 29, 2021 sailing Celestyal Crystal from Piraeus, Greece. 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
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 has suspended operations through at least the month of May. Disney Dream voyages have been scrapped until June 5, 2021, sailings on Disney Wonder have been canceled through July 8, 2021, and Disney Fantasy won't sail until June 3, 2021, at the earliest. Disney Magic's European sailings have been canceled through August 10, 2021.
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 temporary suspension of sailings aboard its four Florida-based vessels through April 30, 2021. MSC Grandiosa resumed operations in Europe last year and MSC Seaside is scheduled to restart sailings in the Mediterranean on 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.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has extended the suspension of cruising for all three of its brands, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises through June 30, 2021. "The company will continue to work in tandem with global government and public health authorities and its Healthy Sail Panel expert advisors to take all necessary measures to protect its guests, crew and the communities visited," Norwegian said.
French luxury cruise line Ponant was forced to cancel its "bubble expedition" season in New Zealand this past winter, shifting its focus to Australia. The company plans to resume sailings across Europe in June 2021.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea
Royal Caribbean International plans to return to cruising on June 12, sailing seven-night roundtrip itineraries from Nassau, the Bahamas visiting Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Grand Bahama Island and Cozumel, Mexico.
The cruises are available to adults who have proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and travelers under age 18 with negative coronavirus test results.
Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises will return with seven-night roundtrip itineraries from St. Maarten starting June 5 through August aboard Celebrity Millennium. Royal Caribbean Group's Silversea operations remain suspended through at least May 31, 2021.
Seabourn has scrapped all European sailings until July 3, 2021, and Seabourn Quest's next scheduled departure isn't until November 7, 2021. "Our highest priorities are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the people in destinations we visit," cruise line's president Josh Leibowitz said in a statement earlier this month.
"We understand guests are eager to travel and, even though we have extended our pause in operations a bit further, we continue to prepare to welcome them back once again."
Viking Cruises will begin limited operations in May 2021 with a trio of special roundtrip sailings from Portsmouth, England. The eight-day ocean voyages are available exclusively for U.K. residents, departing May 22, May 29 and June 5, 2021.
Virgin Voyages has canceled sailings through June 30, 2021. The cruise line's second ship, Valiant Lady, is currently scheduled to enter service this coming November. Virgin recently announced that it will require vaccinations for all passengers and crew when voyages resume.
Windstar Cruises plans to resume cruising in a phased manner beginning in June and July 2021. Wind Spirit is scheduled to return June 10, 2021, in Tahiti; Star Breeze and Wind Star are slated to begin sailing on June 19, 2021;
Wind Surf will resume operations in the Mediterranean on June 29, 2021, while Star Legend and Star Pride are scheduled to return July 4 and July 14, 2021, respectively.