Here’s your weekly cruise news update covering all the major cruise lines, and it has been an eventful week for Norwegian Cruise Line with multiple ships. There’s a cruise cancellation, a mechanical issue, and some good news with two NCL ships making a comeback.
Cruise News Update
We’ve got an important catch-up for you this week, including some breaking news with a mechanical issue on a Norwegian cruise ship. There is also another cruise cancellation for the Norwegian Escape, new hull art for MSC Cruises’ new mega-ship, Holland America housing refugees, two NCL vessels returning to service, and that big change from the CDC by removing its Cruise Travel Advisory.
CDC Drops Cruise Travel Advisory
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) completely removed its travel advisory warning regarding cruise ship travel on March 30. The advisory has previously been set at Level 2, “moderate” risk, but the color-coded warning is now removed entirely.
The removal of this advisory warning shows confidence in how effectively cruise lines and individual ships are handling health and safety protocols.
While there have been cases reported onboard ships since U.S. cruise operations resumed in June 2021, cruise lines have acted quickly with isolation and quarantine protocols to minimize transmission and keep cruise travelers, crew members, and local port communities safe. Cruising is making a comeback with the majority of vessels now safely sailing.
It also follows just over two weeks since the CDC dropped its Cruise Travel warning from level 3 to level 2. Cruise lines have reacted to the removal of the notice, including Virgin Voyages which is seeing unprecedented demand with bookings up nearly 120% from January to March of this year.
Another Cruise Canceled for Norwegian Escape
A fourth cruise for Norwegian Escape has been canceled due to the need for repairs after the ship ran aground in Puerto Plata on March 14, 2022. In a letter emailed to booked guests and travel partners, the cruise line has informed those impacted that the planned April 2 sailing will no longer take place.
The letter is virtually identical to the information provided when the March 26 Norwegian Escape sailing was canceled, and guests are being offered similar compensation options to make up for their missed cruise. NCL said that repairs to the vessel were taken longer than expected.
The April 2 sailing was to have been a 7-day itinerary visiting Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Great Stirrup Cay – the same itinerary the ship was sailing when the incident occurred. After the ship ran aground that sailing was canceled and guests were flown home, and the ship has been undergoing repairs since.
In the meantime, Norwegian Escape remains at Port Canaveral where the ship is undergoing repairs. The nature of the repairs has not been disclosed, nor has any explanation been given for why the work is taking extra time.
New MSC Euribia Hull Art Revealed
MSC Cruises has revealed the hull art for the upcoming MSC Euribia, an exclusive design that coordinates well with the ship’s environmental advancements.
At the same time, the line has opened bookings for the new ship, which will offer outstanding itineraries in northern Europe when she debuts in June 2023.
To create an immediately recognizable showcase of MSC Cruises’ commitment to environmental sustainability, the line held an exclusive international design competition to create unique artwork for the ship’s hull, inspired by the sea and its important marine ecosystem.
More than 450 designs from 59 countries worldwide were submitted and German artist Alex Flaemig was selected as the winner by a panel of international judges.
MSC Euribia is scheduled to debut in June 2023, sailing from Kiel, Germany, and offering a variety of 7-night Northern European itineraries, including visits to various ports along the picturesque Norwegian fjords as well as the vibrant port of Copenhagen.
Bookings are now open for the ship’s inaugural season, with discounts available for Voyager’s Club members.
Two Norwegian Cruise Ships Resume Service
It has been a busy week for Norwegian Cruise Line, with two ships resuming operations. Norwegian Jewel returned to service by departing on a 12-day cruise from Panama to San Diego, California on March 29. The vessel is the first in the fleet to sail from Panama and the 13th in the fleet to return to service.
Through the end of March 2023, Norwegian Jewel will offer a total of eight Panama Canal roundtrip cruises ranging from eight-to-10-day itineraries starting from Colón, the Caribbean side of Panama, and ending in Panama City.
Norwegian Jade became the first Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship to start cruising in the Mediterranean this year on March 30. The vessel kicked off the European season for Norwegian Cruise Line as she sailed from Civitavecchia, Italy on a 9-night greek isles cruise.
The NCL vessel will sail one cruise from the Italian cruise capital before she repositions to Pireaus, Greece, the same port from where Norwegian Jade became the first ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to resume sailings in 2021.
Norwegian Jade’s season in the eastern Mediterranean will last through the end of November 2022. After that, the ship will depart on an epic 18-day cruise along the East-African coastline towards Cape Town, South Africa.
Holland America’s Volendam to House Refugees
The Volendam cruise ship, operated by Holland America Line, will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The vessel will dock in the city for three months to temporarily hours 1,500 Ukrainians as part of an agreement with the city.
It’s part of a much broader commitment by the country to accommodate 50,000 people who have fled their home country Ukraine since February 24, 2022.
Those on board the Holland America cruise ship temporarily will be provided three hot meals each day and stay in staterooms with housekeeping services. The refugees will be able to enjoy services from the ship, including the use of public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, and other essentials.
Volendam will remain docked at the Merwehaven cargo port, located on the north side of the River Maas, to allow easy access to the city for those onboard.
The Holland America ship was set to return on May 15, 2022, with voyages from Rotterdam to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland. The ship will now be resuming passenger operations on July 3, 2022, instead of May 15.
Norwegian Dawn Mechanical Issue
According to an announcement made onboard and a letter delivered to guests on March 31, Norwegian Dawn is experiencing a mechanical issue and missed its planned visit to Costa Maya on April 1, 2022.
Instead, the ship remained overnight in Roatan, Honduras, where it had visited on March 31, and is now making its way directly back to Tampa.
Norwegian Dawn is currently sailing a 7-night Caribbean itinerary which departed Tampa on Sunday, March 27. The ship has already visited Cozumel, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in Belize, as well as the now overnight port of call in Roatan.
The letter goes on to explain that guests who booked shore tours through Norwegian Cruise Line will have those costs automatically refunded to their shipboard accounts.
The nature of Norwegian Dawn‘s mechanical issue was not disclosed, and it could be several possibilities. No announcement has been made about whether there will be any itinerary changes or other alterations to the ship’s next sailing, an identical 7-day sailing to the current voyage.
More Cruise Headlines
It’s never a slow week in the cruise industry, there are even more cruise stories over on, including Celebrity Cruises releasing its travel requirements for transatlantic voyages, the new Disney Wish reaching a major milestone, a new cruise port could be coming to Playa del Carmen just across from Cozumel in Mexico, Royal Caribbean releases its Alaska protocols and Carnival Cruise Line has sent out an advisory for two destinations.