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3 more major cruise lines are restarting sailings from North American ports

Aug. 03, 2021
4 min read
3 more major cruise lines are restarting sailings from North American ports
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Two more of the world's biggest cruise lines -- MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line -- are restarting operations in North America this week and, in just a few more days, they'll be joined by another significant cruise brand, Disney Cruise Line.

The North American restart for MSC Cruises began on Monday when the line's 4,500-passenger MSC Meraviglia departed from Miami on a four-night sailing to the Bahamas.

Norwegian Cruise Line is kicking off its North American restart on Saturday with a seven-night sailing of its 3,998-passenger Norwegian Encore from Seattle to Alaska.

Disney Cruise Line's North American restart will begin on Monday with a four-night sailing of its 2,500-passenger Disney Dream from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas.

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For all three lines, these are the first departures from any port in North America since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic 17 months ago, in March of 2020.

Like all major cruise lines around the world, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line ceased operations in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stayed shut down as COVID-19 cases spiked around the world.

MSC Cruises, Norwegian and Disney have all since restarted some sailings in Europe -- in Norwegian and Disney's case, just in the last couple of weeks. The Disney sailings that have restarted in Europe, all out of the U.K., have been for U.K. residents only.

The 2,500-passenger Disney Dream will resume sailings on Aug. 9. (Photo by Education Images/Getty Images)

In restarting service in North America, the three brands are joining a growing number of competitors including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line that already have resumed limited departures in the region. The restarts have been occurring since the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened restrictions for cruise travel in U.S. waters.

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The three lines restarting sailings in North America are taking different approaches to COVID-19-related protocols for cruisers. Norwegian only is allowing passengers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Norwegian Encore for now. MSC Cruises, by contrast, is allowing both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers on board MSC Meraviglia but is testing them all for COVID-19 at boarding.

In addition, unvaccinated passengers on MSC Meraviglia won't be able to disembark the ship on their own in ports. They'll only be allowed off the ship in organized tours arranged by MSC Cruises.

All three lines plan to add more vessels back into service in North America slowly over the coming months. MSC Cruises has 19 ships in its fleet in all, while Norwegian currently has a 17-ship fleet. Disney Cruise Line is the smallest of the three brands with just four ships in its fleet.

MSC Meraviglia will operate three- and four-night Bahamas voyages out of Miami through mid-September before switching to week-long Caribbean sailings.

A second MSC Cruises ship, the 3,502-passenger MSC Divina, is scheduled to restart operations in the U.S. out of Port Canaveral on Sept. 16.

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Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    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.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

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