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Some Carnival cruise ships won't resume sailing until March or later

Sept. 16, 2020
5 min read
Some Carnival cruise ships won't resume sailing until March or later
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You'll have to wait at least another six months to sail on some of Carnival Cruise Line's 23 vessels.

The Miami-based line on Wednesday announced that four of its ships -- Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor and Carnival Spirit -- won't return to service until at least March. One of the ships, Carnival Spirit, won't resume operations until June.

All four of the vessels are due for regular maintenance in a dry dock, and the line said it was postponing their return to service until the work can be done.

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The announcement means that, even in the best scenario, the full Carnival fleet won't be back in operation until nearly the start of next summer.

Like many major cruise lines, Carnival hasn't operated any departures since March, when the new coronavirus was declared a pandemic. But it has been hinting that it may restart at least a handful of sailings later this year. The line has canceled all sailings through the end of October.

Carnival's announcement of an extended halt to sailings for four ships is in keeping with recent pronouncements from executives at the line's parent company that cruising will resume slowly when it does resume. Carnival Corporation executives have been saying that any restart of cruising in the coming months only will involve a limited number of vessels.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)
The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic won't return to service until at least March 2021. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

“Clearly cruise will not come back all at once,” Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said in July in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. “We intend to resume operations with a small percentage of the fleet.”

Related: Cruise executives say they're in no rush to return to service

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Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line as well as Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and five overseas brands.

For now, Carnival Cruise Line continues to sell voyages on most of its vessels for November and December, though the line hasn't confirmed that those trips will go ahead as planned.

Wednesday's announcement will result in the cancellation of more than 100 sailings, including:

  • Carnival Magic departures operating from Miami through March 13, 2021.
  • Carnival Paradise departures operating from Tampa through March 19, 2021.
  • Carnival Valor departures operating from New Orleans through April 29, 2021 (including the transatlantic cruise from New Orleans on Jan. 25, 2021, and the return from Barcelona on Feb. 26, 2021)
  • Carnival Spirit departures operating from Brisbane, Australia, through May 16, 2021. The ship won't sail again until June 12, 2021, when it will depart Singapore on a voyage to Brisbane.

In a statement, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said shipyard scheduling issues were a factor in the decision to put the four ships on long-term hiatus.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival ships and itineraries

"This extended pause in our operations has also impacted shipyard availability, and we’ve had to reschedule required dry docks," Duffy said. "As we continue to work through issues related to our eventual return to operations, we are committed to providing our guests and travel agent partners with certainty where we can, although we regret disappointing our guests."

Carnival on Wednesday also confirmed that two more of its ships -- Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination -- had been sold in recent weeks. The line had previously said the vessels would be laid up on a long-term basis but had not confirmed reports that they were permanently leaving the Carnival fleet.

Carnival did not say who was buying the two ships. But, as The Points Guy reported in August, Carnival Imagination already has been sent to a scrapyard in Aliaga, Turkey. Carnival Fascination currently is docked in Cadiz, Spain.

Since the coronavirus shutdown began, Carnival has disposed of four vessels: Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy. Three of the four ships are now at a scrapyard.

Carnival started the year with 27 ships.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Carnival)

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
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4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees