Cruise fans hit with another flurry of cruise cancellations

Apr 6, 2021

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Cruise fans on Tuesday faced another barrage of cruise cancellations from some of the world’s biggest cruise lines.

Industry giant Carnival Cruise Line said it had pushed back its return to service by another month with the cancellation of all June sailings.

Also canceling all June sailings was Disney Cruise Line, and Disney also canceled all of its Europe sailings through Sept. 18.

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More cancellations also came on Tuesday from fast-growing Viking, which canceled all June and July sailings that had been on its schedule. In their place, the line announced plans to operate a very small number of voyages out of Bermuda and Reykjavik, Iceland, in addition to a handful of U.K. sailings.

In addition, as part of a return-to-service plan announced early Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled all July and August sailings aboard eight of its 17 ships: Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun.

Norwegian also canceled voyages on two more ships — Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl — through Sept. 1 and Nov. 7, respectively.

For now, Norwegian only plans to restart operations over the summer with three vessels.

Norwegian’s two sister brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, also canceled more voyages on Tuesday, removing all July sailings from their schedules. Both lines now plan to restart operations in August.

The flurry of cancellations came even as more cruise lines announce plans to restart cruise departures in very limited ways over the summer. Norwegian’s announcement on Tuesday included plans for new sailings out of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Greece starting in July and August.

Also on Tuesday, Seabourn revealed plans to restart cruising in July with sailings of a single ship operating out of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens).

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Crystal Cruises in recent days also have announced new or expanded restart plans that involve a small number of ships.

The Tuesday news of more cancellations at Carnival, in particular, is a blow for cruise fans who had been hoping to see cruising restart soon. Carnival is the second biggest cruise line in the world after Royal Caribbean when measured by passenger capacity and accounts for nearly one out of five cruises taken worldwide.

In a statement, Carnival president Christine Duffy apologized for the new cancellations — the latest in a long string at the line.

“We know that this is very disappointing to our guests who continue to be eager to sail, and we remain committed to working with the (Biden administration) and the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to find a workable solution that best serves the interest of public health,” she said.

Carnival operates most of its vessels out of U.S. ports, where cruise operations currently are banned due to the coronavirus pandemic by the CDC.

Unlike some lines, Carnival has not made plans to move some of its U.S.-based ships offshore to ports in the Bahamas and elsewhere to get around the CDC prohibition to cruising. But in her statement, she suggested the line may be considering that route.

“We are asking that the cruise industry be treated on par with the approach being taken with other travel and tourism sectors, as well as U.S. society at large,” Duffy said. “While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year.”

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Featured image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

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