Just when we thought 2021 was going to turn the tide and a more positive outlook would come in, we got a new round of cruise cancellations from some major cruise lines. We’ve got all the latest updates from the past week and there is even some positive news too.
Cruise News Update
It wasn’t the start of the year we wanted with even more cancelations including Carnival Cruise Line delaying its return until April, even more cancelled cruises from sister cruise lines around the world, a new Florida bill that could overturn the limit put on cruise ships in Key West and MSC Cruises is set to resume cruises in the Mediterranean this month!
Iconic MS Marco Polo to be Scrapped
One of the oldest cruise ships in the world has been designated to be scrapped. A storied history of more than 55 years sailing the world’s oceans comes to a sad end as the former Cruise and Maritime Voyages liner MS Marco Polo will come to an end at the shipbreaking yard in Alang, India.
A fan favorite, Cruise and Maritime Voyages catered mostly for the UK market, focusing on an older, mature crowd that enjoyed indulging in the classic cruise setup. While the line had a steady client base for many years, it was to be one of the first victims in the cruise industry to succumb to the pandemic.
Marco Polo was sold at auction in October 2020 as part of CMV’s administration phase. As recently as November 2020, there was still hope for the 55-year old vessel as she was offered for charter by Offshore Solutions Unlimited. She has now been taken off their website.
Marco Polo first entered service back in 1965 for the Baltic Shipping Company. The vessel is currently over 22,000 gross tons with a guest capacity of 820 along with over 300 crew members.
Key West Cruise Ship Limits Could be Overturned
The ban on large cruise ships imposed by ‘The Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships’ could potentially be in danger, as Senator Jim Boyd has proposed Senate Bill 426. In this bill, local governments are not allowed to impose any bans on any ships.
The bill gives state legislators the power to preemptively enforce existing state laws, re- commercial maritime operations, and block local city and county governments from restricting vessel size or passenger count.
After cruise ship travel died down since the pandemic took effect, local citizens and authorities in Key West have been looking at restricting the number of cruise passengers passing through the port each day.
During the election vote for the presidency in 2020, the locals voted in three different rules. These were: Limit the number of daily cruise ship visitors to 1,500, Prohibit cruise ships with 1,300 passengers or more from docking and give docking priority to cruise lines that have the best health and environmental records.
P&O Australia Announces More Cancellations
New Zealand has been able to manage the spread of COVID-19 incredibly well over the last year. With only 60+ active cases at this time, it is one of the few countries in the world where life seems to be able to carry on reasonably normal.
However, that doesn’t mean that cruises on a large scale will be happening anytime soon. P&O Australia, one of the largest cruise operators in the country, has canceled all voyages on and before April 25, 2021.
P&O Australia stated that there would only be a full cruise season in New Zealand in 2022 at the earliest. Cruises to New Zealand were initially scheduled to start as early as February 6, 2021, making it one of the few countries where cruising on larger ships would have taken place.
Pacific Explorer‘s voyages were already paused until March 4, 2021, this has been pushed back to April 25, 2021. P&O Australia will only schedule a 150-day season in New Zealand starting July 2022.
Carnival Cruise Line Won’t Resume Sailings Until April
Carnival Cruise Line has announced a new round of cancellations, and the suspension on operations will continue until April 2021. Select ships will also be delayed due to dry dock upgrades. Here is the full list of what’s canceled right now:
- All embarkations from U.S. homeports through March 31, 2021
- Carnival Freedom sailings from Galveston through April 10, 2021
- Carnival Miracle sailings from San Diego and San Francisco through September 16, 2021
- Carnival Liberty sailings from Port Canaveral from September 17-October 18, 2021 (to accommodate rescheduled dry dock work)
- Carnival Sunshine sailings from Charleston from October 11-November 13, 2021 (to accommodate rescheduled dry dock work)
- Carnival Spirit’s 15-day cruise from Singapore to Brisbane on June 12, 2021
The Miami-based cruise line is contacting guests and travel agents impacted by the new round of cancellations. The cruise line is offering a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) and onboard credit. Guests can alternatively request a full refund if they no longer want to cruise in the future.
As the pandemic sweeps across the United States and the world, cruising continues to be on hold. Carnival Cruise Line hoped to return with a limited number of ships in March 2021, but now this won’t be the case.
Holland America Line Delays Return
Holland America Line is another major cruise line that’s part of the Carnival Corporation and it has also extended the pause on operations. All departures through April 30, 2021, are now cancelled including cruises in Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Pacific Coast, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Canada/New England departures.
The cruise line has also cancelled Alaska cruises on three of its ships through early June 2021. Land+Sea Journeys connected with the Alaska sailings are also cancelled along with departures in the Mediterranean. Canada and New England cruises on the Zaandam will also no longer take place through early June 2021.
Princess Cruises Cancels More Sailings
Princess Cruises which has been hit hard by the global pandemic has announced a further suspension on cruise operations. Cruises have been cancelled through May 14, 2021 including departures in the Caribbean, the California Coast along with sailings in Alaska and Europe.
Princess Cruises had previously suspended cruises through March 2021 but it’s going to take longer than expected to resume cruises safely. Those guests impacted by the further cancellations are being offered compensation. There is the option of a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) plus an additional 25% bonus.
Guests can also request a full refund of what’s been paid on the booking using an online form. The requests have to be completed by February 15, 2021 or they will automatically be put on the FCC option.
Aida Cruises Extends Suspension
The cruise industry is nowhere near to resuming operations, and with the only hope for some cruises in a few regions, that now seems to be lost. AIDA has been forced to cancel more sailings until the end of February 2021.
The reason for the further suspension comes after a new lockdown in Germany until at least January 31, 2021, further tightening of the measures to contain the virus, travel limitations around the world, and of course, a new threat of the COVID strain that’s sweeping across the UK.
The Carnival-owned cruise line is contacting all those guests affected and offering options for future cruise bookings.
MSC Cruises Set to Return Towards End of January
Strict measures implemented in Italy that restrict people’s movement within the country have forced Swiss Cruise Operator MSC Cruises to halt operations temporarily. However, guests do not have to wait long as cruises will resume from the end of January.
Both vessels that have been in operation over the last months will be cruising again soon. The company’s flagship MSC Grandiosa will be sailing from January 24, while MSC Magnifica will also be returning to sea from February 14, 2021.
This break in operations is the first time the line has had to halt operations for any significant amount of time during the Pandemic.
MSC Grandiosa is over 181,000 gross tons and MSC’s flagship. She can carry a maximum of 6,334 passengers but with new health measures in place, she won’t be booked a full capacity. The ship will continue the weekly itinerary that takes her from Genoa, Italy, to the Italian ports of Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, and Valetta in Malta.
Even more Cruise News
So those were some of the biggest cruise news stories from the past week.
We’ve got even more breaking cruise news over on cruisehive.com including cruise ships unlikely to return to the Cayman Islands this year, Port of Los Angeles expecting over 24 cruise ships with no passengers through early February 2021, Carnival’s Mardi Gras arriving in Barcelona, Spain for the very first time and find out when each cruise line currently plans on resuming operations.
You can also stay up to date reading or watching last week’s big cruise update.