3 major cruise lines push back restart all the way to July

Mar 16, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Norwegian Cruise Line just became the first of the world’s big cruise brands to give up on the idea of a June restart to cruising.

The Miami-based cruise operator on Tuesday canceled all departures through the end of June — a move that pushes out its planned restart to at least early July.

Until Tuesday, Norwegian only had canceled sailings through the end of May.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

Norwegian’s two smaller sister brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, also pushed back their restart dates on Tuesday by a month to early July.

Norwegian is the world’s fourth-biggest cruise line by passenger capacity. With Tuesday’s announcement, it becomes the first of the world’s five biggest cruise lines to have halted all sailings until early July.

The world’s three biggest cruise brands — Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises — have canceled all or most cruises through the end of May but not into June.

The world’s fifth-biggest cruise line, Princess Cruises, has canceled some — but not all — sailings through the end of June.

The announcements from Norwegian and its sister brands are a blow to fans of the lines who had hoped their most recently announced restart dates would hold. Many have been optimistic that the recent rollout of COVID vaccines and falling case counts in many parts of the world would allow for at least some of the brands’ cruises to take place in June.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line operates some of the newest ships in the cruise business, including the recently unveiled 4,004-passenger Norwegian Encore. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

But it’s looking increasingly unlikely that there will be a meaningful amount of cruising in many parts of the world before July at the earliest.

In North America, in particular, cruise lines have been grappling with a road map for a return to cruising issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that lays out a long period of testing and approvals before cruising can resume.

Issued in October as a “framework for conditional sailing” order, the road map includes a testing period for new anti-coronavirus protocols on ships that have yet to begin. After that, cruise operators can apply for what the CDC is calling a Conditional Sailing Certificate in a process that could take an additional 60 days.

Cruise lines also face roadblocks to a return to cruising in the form of the many coronavirus-related travel restrictions that destinations around the world continue to impose.

Cruising has resumed in a limited way over the past nine months in parts of Europe, led by Europe-based lines such as MSC Cruises and TUI Cruises. A handful of ships also have resumed sailings in Asia, including one Royal Caribbean vessel. But, so far, no ocean cruising has resumed in North America on a permanent basis.

In November, one small cruise company, SeaDream Yacht Club, attempted to resume voyages in the Caribbean out of Barbados with a small vessel. But the sailing did not go well. It ended with a COVID-19 outbreak and passengers quarantined in their cabins. The line subsequently canceled all remaining cruises for the winter season.

The only cruise vessels that currently are operating in North America are two small vessels that sail on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waterways. They just resumed service this week.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.