This Week in Cruise: Royal's World Cruise, New Itineraries & More
Luxury Cruise Guide
03 November, 2021
The United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) extended the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) through January 15, 2021 and made several changes – emphasizing the cruise industry’s cooperation in handling health and safety protocols. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a public statement,noting that the changes “show that the Biden Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations.”
Continuing its “Great Cruise Comeback,” Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has restarted cruises with Norwegian Bliss,which is now sailing week-long voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. The ship is the line’s seventh ship that's restarted cruising..
MSC Cruises reconfirmed that it will sail to the Caribbean for its winter season 2021/22 sailing program, but did adjust itineraries due to the pandemic situation ashore and low vaccination rates in Martinique and Guadaloupe. MSC Seaview will be based for seven- and 14-night cruises from St. Maarten and Barbados, starting December 5. Revised itineraries reflect ports of call that have guaranteed access for the ship.
Royal Caribbean International will debut the inaugural "Ultimate World Cruise," a 274-night adventure that visits all seven continents, more than 150 destinations in 65 countries and numerous"Wonders of the World." This immersive experience on Serenade of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Miami on December 10, 2023.
On the expedition front, Hurtigruten Expeditions says it's seeing strong and consistent demand across all markets, with bookings that are back to pre-pandemic levels. It also revealed the line-up of voyages for its 2023-24 expedition cruise season. Highlights include three ships and deeper exploration of Antarctica, more ships in Canada’s Northwest Passage and more off-the-beaten-track Alaska.
But with the positive steps mentioned above, there have been a few set-backs too in the recovery efforts. Pandaw, a major river cruise operator in Asia, ceased all operations on October 26, citing the cessation of sailings, a lack of liquidity and failure to find new investors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Separately, Tradewind Voyages cancelled its inaugural 2021 Caribbean season, which includes 17 voyages planned between December and April. The decision was made due to guest concerns about accessibility to certain islands and resistance to traveling in "bubbles" ashore.
More Cruise Tidbits
After a challenging year, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is open for cruising. All fully vaccinated travelers from every country are now able to enter the country including sailing in/out via cruise ship. Moving forward, ships of AIDA, Costa Cruises, TUI and MSC Cruises already are slated to call at both Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island. For example, AIDAbella will call starting in November and Costa Firenzein December.
Cruise lines with ships calling at Abu Dhabi are following these health and safety protocols:
- Only vaccinated visitors will be allowed onboard cruise ships
- All passengers and crew will be required to have a negative PCR test 48 hours prior embarking the ship
- All crew members and passengers will undergo PCR testing every two weeks or even more frequently in line with the ship’s sailing schedule
- There will be dedicated quarantine/isolation zones for passengers and staff with symptoms, including a Department of Health approved clinic to support cases requiring hospitalization
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) unveiled its latest cruise offerings at the recent Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami, FL.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming travelers to Abu Dhabi and to see the resurgence of the sea cruise industry,” said HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing, DCT Abu Dhabi. “Over the past few years, our cruise industry has witnessed unprecedented growth, allowing us to offer seafaring travelers unforgettable experiences when they visit the U.A.E. capital."
He said that this year, Abu Dhabi looks forward to welcoming a host of cruise ships to its terminals and providing guests with the opportunity to explore attractions within the emirate and within its tranquil surrounding waters.
Noura Rashed Al Dhaheri, managing director of cruise business at AD Ports Group, said: “We are excited to welcome vaccinated cruise passengers at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach with our world-famous Emirati hospitality. We have the best-in-class measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of passengers and crew, in line with Abu Dhabi’s health and safety protocols, and are confident that we are well-prepared for the resumption of regular cruise activities in the emirate.”
Several lines are either moving to or have already opened offices in South Florida, often called the “Cruise Capital of the World.” Last week, Windstar Cruises said it's moving its headquarters from Seattle to Miami by June 2022. It’s signed a lease and will begin outfitting the office within the coming weeks.
On the personnel front, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) appointed David Herrera as chief consumer sales and marketing officer and Christine Da Silva as senior vice president of branding and communications.Find Great Cruise Deals
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