Skip to content

Be warned, cruisers: That exciting new cruise ship you're waiting for might be delayed

Nov. 15, 2022
5 min read
Be warned, cruisers: That exciting new cruise ship you're waiting for might be delayed
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.

There are several dozen major new cruise ships scheduled to debut over the next few years, with some already available to book.

But be warned if you're starting to plan your future vacations around them: They might not all arrive on time.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction of a growing number of cruise vessels scheduled to be completed over the next few years is falling behind, sometimes by many months.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter.

Just last week, two major cruise lines announced significant delays in the arrival of new vessels:

  • Cunard pushed back the debut of its first new ship in 14 years, the 2,794-passenger Queen Anne, by four months to May 3, 2024. It was originally due to start service in January 2024.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line said the arrival of the third and fourth vessels in its new Prima-class series would be pushed back from 2024 and 2025, respectively, to 2025 and 2026.

The debut of the second ship in the Prima-class series, Norwegian Viva, already has been delayed twice, from June 2023 to July 2023 to August 2023.

The delays come just months after Virgin Voyages delayed the arrival of its third ship by nearly a year and startup luxury line Explora Journeys pushed back the debut of its first ship by two months.

Other recent ship unveilings that have been delayed, in some cases significantly, include the arrival of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's first vessel, luxury line Seabourn's first expedition-style cruise ship and Disney Wish, the first new Disney cruise ship in a decade.

Related: New Disney cruise ship delayed by 6 weeks

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Like most of the lines before them, both Cunard and Norwegian last week blamed shipyard construction delays caused in part by pandemic-era supply chain issues for the delayed ship unveilings.

"Due in part to unforeseen events that have occurred in recent years, the shipbuilding industry, like other industries, has faced numerous challenges including energy shortages and global supply chain constraints," Cunard said in a statement sent to TPG.

The line said passengers already booked or waitlisted on Queen Anne's previously announced maiden voyage, which had been scheduled for Jan. 4, 2024, would have the booking or waitlist position transferred to the vessel's new maiden voyage.

The Norwegian ships were delayed "100% as a result of shipyard delays from supply chain constraints," Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Chief Financial Officer Mark Kempa said last week during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

A new sister vessel to Virgin Voyages' Valiant Lady was delayed by nearly a year. VIRGIN VOYAGES

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The company announced the Norwegian ship delays Nov. 8 as part of its quarterly earnings release.

While the arrival dates of the two Norwegian ships have been pushed back into later calendar years, Kempa said the actual time delay for the construction of each of the two vessels was in the "four to five months" range.

Related: Why the best value in travel right now might be a cruise

Neither Norwegian ship had opened for bookings before the delays were announced.

Not all of the ship delays of late have been entirely due to fallout from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The delay of the debut of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's first vessel, Evrima, was partly caused by shipyard troubles that predated the pandemic. The line initially used a shipyard with little experience in building luxury cruise vessels, and construction of the ship quickly ran into problems.

Supply chain issues in the wake of the pandemic just made the situation for Evrima worse.

Evrima finally debuted in October after eight delays that pushed back the ship's arrival by three years.

Other lines that have announced delays for new ships in the past year include Atlas Ocean Voyages, P&O Cruises, Oceanwide Expeditions, Swan Hellenic, Viking and Ambassador Cruise Line.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY
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.

TPG featured card

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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
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).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
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.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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.

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
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
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).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    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