Cruise ships that restarted in Europe over the summer are shutting back down
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.
Two of the biggest lines to restart limited sailings in Europe in recent months — MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises — this week said they would pause all voyages in the coming days due to growing travel restrictions brought on by higher coronavirus case counts.
For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter
MSC Cruises on Friday canceled three departures of the only ship that it currently has operating, MSC Grandiosa, that are scheduled to take place between Dec. 20 and Jan. 10.
The 4,842-passenger cruise ship — one of the world’s largest — had resumed sailings on Aug. 16 out of Genoa, Italy, in what at the time was considered a major milestone in the post-COVID comeback of cruising. MSC Cruises was the first major cruise line to restart sailings in the Mediterranean since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
MSC Cruises on Friday also pushed pushed back plans to bring a second vessel into service in the Mediterranean on Dec. 18. The line now is targeting Jan. 15 for the first COVID-era voyage of the 2,550-passenger ship, MSC Magnifica.
The MSC Cruises cancellations came a day after Costa announced it was canceling all sailings from Dec. 20 through Jan. 6. The line restarted limited operations out of Italy on Sept. 6 and has had as many as three ships sailing out of Italy at times over the past three months.
The line plans to restart operations with just a single vessel, Costa Smeralda, on Jan. 7.
The cancellations at the two lines come in the wake of new COVID-related travel restrictions in Italy announced on Wednesday. The new restrictions include a complete ban on travel between Italian regions from Dec. 21 through Jan. 6. The Italian government also is forbidding its residents from leaving their home towns on Christmas Day, Dec. 26 and New Year’s Day.
The Italian government is hoping that a complete stop of travel over the holiday period, when many Italians have time off from work, will help stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the country. New COVID cases began surging in Italy in early October and remain high, though they have started coming down in recent weeks.
“Costa … joins the further efforts requested to the country and to all Italians during the next Christmas and New Year holidays by suspending its activities,” the line said in a statement.
MSC Cruises and Costa are just the latest lines forced to pull back on efforts to revive cruising due to growing travel restrictions.
More than a half dozen other ocean cruise and river cruise lines that had restarted operations in Europe since the summer have had to cancel sailings in recent weeks due to growing travel restrictions in Germany, France and other European countries.
The travel restrictions have been driven by soaring coronavirus case counts.
River cruising in Europe, which began coming back for locals only in June, has ground to a halt since October.
The reversal of the restart to cruising in Europe in recent weeks comes as cruise lines that operate in North America continue to push out the date when they expect to resume sailings in the region.
Nearly every major cruise line that operates in North America including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line this week canceled sailings in the region through at least the end of February. Some lines have canceled North American sailings even further into 2021.
All cruise lines around the world halted departures in March as the coronavirus outbreak grew and many have yet to restart operations anywhere in the world. Carnival, Norwegian and Disney are among the lines that haven’t operated a single departure since March.
Royal Caribbean only has resumed sailings with a single ship, Quantum of the Seas. The vessel began short voyages out of Singapore on Tuesday for local Singapore residents only. Singapore is one of the few places in the world that has almost completely eliminated the new coronavirus.
Due to restrictions imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been almost no cruising since March in North America.
In November, a small line that focuses on small-ship cruising, SeaDream Yacht Club, attempted to restart cruises in the Caribbean out of Barbados on a single ship, the 112-passenger SeaDream 1. But its plans were derailed after a COVID outbreak on the first sailing.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image of courtesy of MSC Cruises
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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.
- 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.