Skip to content

2 more cruise lines cancel soon-to-depart sailings amid omicron surge

Jan. 14, 2022
5 min read
2 more cruise lines cancel soon-to-depart sailings amid omicron surge
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.

Windstar Cruises is joining the list of cruise operators canceling soon-to-depart sailings amid the worldwide surge in COVID-19 cases.

The small-ship cruise specialist on Thursday began notifying passengers on upcoming trips that it was pausing operations across most of its fleet through at least Jan. 28.

The pause will affect every Windstar ship currently operating except the Tahiti-based Star Breeze.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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

Also canceling a significant number of sailings on Thursday for the first time during the latest surge of COVID-19 cases was British line Fred. Olsen Cruises. The line announced it had delayed the return of one of its four vessels, Balmoral, until May. It said the return of another of its vessels, Braemar, would be delayed even further, to spring of 2023.

In addition, Holland America on Thursday extended previously announced cancellations for one of its 11 ships, Nieuw Amsterdam, into February, and Norwegian Cruise Line canceled sailings through the end of the month on another vessel, Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian has now canceled soon-to-depart sailings on 12 of its 17 ships.

Related: Norwegian Cruise Line cancels more sailings amid omicron surge

The cancellations come as cruise lines struggle along with all other types of travel providers to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases sweeping the world. In the U.S., nearly 900,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday -- nearly 10 times the number that were testing positive just a few weeks ago.

While cruise ships have recorded relatively few cases of COVID-19 over the past year, in part due to unusually strict health protocols, the number of passengers and crew testing positive on ships has been rising sharply in recent weeks along with the greater surge on land. The rise in cases on ships has led to disruptions to sailings as some ports have balked at allowing ships to call or tightened entry requirements to a point that has made it difficult for ships to comply.

Related: Everything you need to know about the current situation on ships

Some cruise ships also have had to contend with crew shortages that have resulted from the need to isolate crew who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The challenges to operating in such an environment has led a growing number of cruise lines to cancel soon-to-depart sailings in recent days, including Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Atlas Ocean Voyages, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

Related: Royal Caribbean cancels sailings on four ships

The cancellations announced Thursday by Windstar affect three of its six ships, all based in the Caribbean -- Star Legend, Wind Surf and Windstar. Two more of Windstar's ships -- Wind Spirit and Star Pride -- were already out of service.

The one ship Windstar is leaving in service for now operates sailings around French Polynesia, where COVID-19 cases currently are notably low. All of French Polynesia recorded just 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

In the wake of the cancellations announced Thursday, Fred. Olsen Cruises still will have two of its four vessels operating in the coming months -- Bolette and Borealis.

The latest wave of cancellations across the cruise industry are the biggest since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the entire cruise industry shut down in a matter of days. Most of the world's major cruise lines remained shut down for well more than a year afterward.

Related: Omicron could fade in 'weeks,' former FDA head tells travel industry

For now, there is little talk in the industry of such a widespread shutdown. Even the lines that are canceling sailings have said they expected the ships to be back in operation soon.

After restarting operations around the world over the past year, cruise lines have implemented unusually strict health protocols that go far beyond what is typical at land-based resorts and on airplanes. Many lines require all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to undergo COVID-19 testing before boarding ships.

A small but growing number of lines in recent days have added a booster shot requirement, too.

In addition, lines often require passengers to wear masks while onboard ships and keep socially distant.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Alberto Ferraro
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 starter travel card
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

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases