Here’s your round-up with another weekly cruise news update across the major cruise lines. It has been eventful with all the new ships from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, along with more cancellations and embarkation enhancements.
Cruise News Update
We’ve just had another busy week in the cruise industry as cruise lines continue to adapt to the current global situation and they continue to focus on the future. We’ve got more cancellations in Hong Kong, including Royal Caribbean deciding to leave the city earlier than anticipated. There is also coverage on the new world’s largest cruise ship, possible booster for Carnival cruisers, and plenty of new ship news on the next two Carnival LNG vessels.
Hong Kong Cancellations
The government of Hong Kong is not allowing cruises to sail from the city until mid-February at least. This is due to COVID measures in place locally. As a result, Dream Cruises announced further cancelations for Genting Dream, affecting six cruises between February 4 and February 16. Sailings were set to resume on February 4 after previous cancellations for cruises in January, which was also due to restrictions by the Hong Kong authorities.
Royal Caribbean also announced further cancelations for its vessel, Spectrum of the Seas citing the same reasons as Dream Cruises. Spectrum of the Seas Ocean Getaways departing on February 4, 7, 10, 12, and 14 have been canceled. The Quantum-ultra class vessel has already been on hold for much of January due to decisions that are out of the cruise line’s hands.
When cruising will truly return from Hong Kong, who knows, at least it’s not like Australia, which has still not seen a single voyage since March 2020.
Spectrum of the Seas to Singapore
And while we’re on the subject of Spectrum of the Seas, currently based out of Hong Kong, the vessel is now set to repositing to begin cruises from Singapore much earlier than originally scheduled.
Spectrum of the Seas will begin three- to four-night Ocean Getaways on April 11, 2022, six months earlier than anticipated. Royal Caribbean did not give a reason why it decided to move the ship earlier, but it’s likely recent suspensions and restrictions by the authorities in Hong Kong had an impact.
Royal Caribbean can now shift its focus to Singapore with fully vaccinated sailings. The cruise line also allows guests who book their Spectrum voyage on or before March 31, 2022, to take advantage of its Cruise with Confidence cancellation program. The program enables guests to cancel their cruise up to 48 hours before departure and receive a future cruise credit.
Spectrum of the Seas is 169,379 gross tons, making her one of the largest cruise ships operating in Asia. The Quantum-ultra class vessel has a guest capacity of 4,246 at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members. The ship entered service in April 2019 and was purpose-built to serve the Asian cruise market.
Wonder of the Seas Delivered
Delivery of Royal Caribbean’s new Wonder of the Seas from Chantiers de l’Atlantique took place on Thursday in Marseille, France, where the Oasis-class vessel had been for her final touches before being handed over. The flag-changing ceremony took place to mark the significant milestone as Royal Caribbean now takes over the responsibility of the new world’s largest cruise ship.
It has been a long journey since construction started at the shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, in April 2019. Since then, Wonder of the Seas reached significant construction milestones, including floating out onto the water for the first time and sea trials. In November 2021, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship arrived at the shipyard in Marseille for final touches, especially on the interior spaces. Crew members have also been joining the ship to prepare for guest operations.
The ship will begin cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 4, 2022, and will offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, including calls to Royal Caribbean’s private islands of Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, Nassau, The Bahamas; Roatan, Honduras; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Wonder of the Seas has some impressive stats at 236,857 gross tons and a guest capacity of 5,734 at double occupancy, along with 2,300 international crew members. The ship has a total of 18 decks, 24 guest elevators, and 2,867 staterooms.
Carnival Cruise Line VeriFLY
On January 22, Carnival Cruise Line started a pilot program for guests embarking on the Mardi Gras cruise ship at Port Canaveral. The new program is the VeriFLY solution already widely used for airlines, allowing guests to upload their health details for verification.
Carnival has now said that the first usage of the embarkation enhancement has been a success, with almost 2,000 guests opening the invite for the VeriFly solution and 85% of those downloading the app.
Moving forward, the plan is for the pilot program to be expanded to more sailings and will then be rolled out across all Carnival cruise ships with U.S. departures. The app allows guests to upload their proof of vaccination and testing information, which results in a more streamlined embarkation process. Guests who used the app had their check-in process time reduced.
Carnival Cruise Line Booster
The cruise line has updated guests on its plans to operate vaccinated sailings, including the possibility of the booster shot becoming a requirement. Carnival Cruise Line continues to follow CDC guidelines to ensure guests and crew remain safe, despite the Conditional Sailing Order ending on January 15, 2022.
In a letter sent to guests, Carnival said that it still plans to operate vaccinated sailings, and guests will still need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure. Pre-cruise testing is still required for vaccinated guests within two days before the sailing date.
The CDC and even Carnival’s own Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols, strongly recommend that guests get a booster shot when eligible. On upcoming sailings, it’s possible that the booster shot could become a requirement rather than a recommendation, and the cruise line is letting guests know.
So far, none of the cruise destinations have made this a requirement, but during the last few weeks, ports have refused entry to cruise ships that have had small numbers of COVID-19 cases onboard. The last thing the industry needs is further port cancellations due to guests not having the booster shot.
Carnival Celebration Receives Funnel
Carnival Cruise Line’s second Excel-class, LNG-powered vessel, Carnival Celebration, has received her funnel. Carnival Cruise Line’s iconic funnel, with its split fan-shaped or whale-tail design, first debuted in 1972 aboard the Tropicale, the first ship built exclusively for Carnival Cruise Line.
When complete, Carnival Celebration will be 182,800 gross tons and measure 1,130 feet long, with a guest capacity of 5,374 at double occupancy and up to 6,631 passengers when all berths are fully booked.
Carnival Celebration is scheduled to enter service in November, part of Carnival Cruise Line’s year-long 50th birthday festivities, and will sail from PortMiami. Her initial itineraries will include 6-, 7-, and 8-night Caribbean sailings, visiting popular ports of call including Amber Cove, Costa Maya, Grand Turk, Nassau, San Juan, and more.
Carnival Jubilee Bookings Open
There is still some time to go before Carnival Jubilee starts sailing, but the sister ship to Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration is now open for booking. Bookings opened on January 25, conveniently known as the National Plan for Vacation Day. The first booking possibilities showed up on the Carnival Hub app last week, which Carnival has now confirmed.
Carnival Jubilee will sail on her first voyage from Galveston in Texas on November 18, 2023. The ship’s inaugural cruise from the United States will stop in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras.
Those guests who would like to sail on Carnival Jubilee a little earlier can do so on one of the longest voyages that Carnival offers. Sailing from Southampton in Southern England, she will visit La Coruña and Vigo in Spain, Madeira and the Canary Islands, and sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Grand Turk. The ship will depart Southampton on October 30, 2023, and arrive in her new homeport of Galveston on November 17, 2023.
Carnival Jubilee will be built in Germany, a difference from her sisters Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration. Although the same company, the first two vessels were built by Meyer Turku Werft in Finland, Carnival Jubilee will instead be built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.
We’ve got even more cruise news which you can take a look at, including a former Royal Caribbean ship that entered service in 1972 being beached for scrapping, details released for the new Holland America ship’s naming ceremony, more cancellations for cruise lines in Australia, Disney Cruise Line announces Pixar Day at Sea, Celebrity Infinity to begin Caribbean voyages this summer and we’ve got all the latest developments on the situation on Crystal Cruises and its bankrupt parent company Genting.