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Cruise news headlines from the week
Carnival & Royal Caribbean cancelled cruises from the US through June.
Did Carnival get the CDC’s attention this week?
Only hours after Carnival Cruise Line hinted that it might consider sailings its ships from ports outside the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control, that agency appeared to reconsider its stance.
As other lines announced plans to sail from ports in the Caribbean and other areas around the world, Carnival Cruise Line continued to hope that the CDC might lift its restrictions on ships sailing out of U.S. ports. But in announcing the cancellation of its June sailings, Carnival made it clear that its patience with the situation was wearing thin.
“While we have not made plans to move [our] ships outside of our U.S. home ports,” said Carnival Cruise Line president and CEO Christine Duffy, “we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations, which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year.”
Only hours later, the CDC released a statement that put a much more positive spin on the position than had been true in the past.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sail order,” spokeswoman Jade Fulce said, apparently in direct response to questions regarding Carnival’s statement. “This goal aligns with the desire to resume passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers; hopefully by mid-summer with restricted revenue sailings.”
Royal Caribbean Ship Arrives in St. Vincent to Help Evacuate
The Serenade of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International arrived in St. Vincent on Friday to help evacuate residents following the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano.
It’s one of two ships on the scene from Royal Caribbean Group, as the company also sent the Celebrity Reflection to help, while Carnival Cruise Line sent two ships as well: the Carnival Legend and Carnival Paradise.
Princess Cruises has announced that on its return to service, every ship in its fleet will feature land-like connectivity as part of its MedallionNet Wi-Fi service.
“Each Princess MedallionClass ship transmits enough bandwidth per vessel to guarantee a superior connection for each guest and the personal device they are using,” the company stated, in a press release .”MedallionNet’s seamless integration ensures guests can work from their deck chairs as efficiently and effectively as in their office, with access to their cloud-based enterprise applications such as storage, videoconferencing, and email. And because there is an access point in every stateroom, as well as all public areas, guests can move freely around the ship as they work without any frustrating signal drops.”
In late 2021, Princess connectivity partner – SES – will begin to launch a new constellation of satellites that will further super-charge MedallionNet and offer guests the best connectivity possible at sea.
The bandwidth capacity not only delivers superior Wi-Fi service levels, but also powers the Princess MedallionClass experience onboard, the company said.
Disney Lays Keel for New Ship Disney Wish
The Disney Wish is scheduled to sail its maiden voyage in summer 2022. Information on itineraries and bookings for the ship will be released at a later date.
The ship will be powered by liquefied natural gas, or LNG, one of the cleanest-burning fuels available. At approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, the ship will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has announced that it plans to resume operation on July 2, with bookings opening on April 9.
“(W)e are pleased to announce that our website is now live and accepting bookings for sailings beginning July 2, when the Grand Classica will make her much-anticipated return to the Bahamas.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow cruises to restart in the United States.
DeSantis said the federal government and the CDC had locked down the cruise industry for over a year and it was not reasonable.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday morning against the Administration, the CDC and HHS.
At a press conference in Miami, DeSantis said he did not believe the federal government had the right to shut down the industry for over a year based on “very little evidence and very little data,” and said he thought he had a good chance for success.
“This is not rational and guess what? They say cruising isn’t safe with widespread vaccinate availability and all the testing you want … it’s a much different situation than a year ago. People are still going to go on cruises,” DeSantis said, adding cruise passengers will just fly to the Bahamas and spend money outside the United States.
“We’re filing a lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC demanding that our cruise ships be reopened immediately.
NCL announced they are restarting cruises
The trio of ships will operate under the company’s new SailSAFE program, and start out with trimmed capacity. All crew will be vaccinated and all guests will be required to have been vaccinated too.
It was an incredibly easy decision,” she said, as the Norwegian Joy will sail seven-day itineraries from Montego Bay starting on August 7, and the Norwegian Gem will launch service from the Dominican Republic on seven-day cruises starting on August 15.
Sailing from Montego Bay, the Joy’s calls include Harvest Caye, Roatan, Cozumel and Ocho Rios. Sailing from La Romana in the Dominican Republic, the Gem will visit Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Antigua.
A third ship positioned in Athens will most likely be full of European-sourced guests to start, Athanasiou noted, as the week-long cruises aboard the Jade will visit a different port every day.
Guests looking to go ashore will need to purchase a Norwegian Cruise Line organized excursion, and Athanasiou said she didn’t expect the shore excursion offerings to see any significant adjustments. That policy will stay in place for July and August and be reevaluated on a periodic basis.
The biggest changes aboard may come from new contactless technology, which will also help streamline embarkation and disembarkation.
“We’re not comprising on the overall vacation experience … the race track will still be open and what we are known for and what customers love they are still going to get on Norwegian.”
Also of note, Norwegian Cruise Line is launching a documentary to show its effort to relaunch service. The five-episode series debuts on April 15 at at www.ncl.com/embark and on Facebook.
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