Cruise holiday update

By | Category: Travel news

How to re-start cruising has been vexing the cruise companies for months.

Saga’s newest ship – Spirit of Adventure. Image – Saga

When Saga announced that it would only carry vaccinated passengers there was criticism that it discriminated against those who would choose not to be vaccinated and also against younger age groups who would be well down the list to get the jab.

Nonetheless, it did generate bookings for Saga and probably the company was not banking on younger age groups being its best customers anyway.

Other companies such as Hurtigruten and Costa have tried local cruises but not very successfully.

Some cruises operate in the Far East based on sailing around for a few days or limiting the length and the number of countries visited.

In Europe, the discussion continues.

Fred. Olsen has cancelled all cruises until the end of June due to the current travel restrictions and one of its ships – Braemar – won’t start cruising again until next year.

Costa Cruises will start later next month when the Costa Smerelda will start a cruise on March 27th. Another vessel, Costa Luminosa will start on May 2nd. All other cruises operated by Costa and its sister companies in the Carnival group such as P&O. AIDA, Cunard and Carnival itself won’t start until the end of May at the earliest.

Most cruise companies have spent large sums on testing and vaccinating crews in readiness along with introducing tougher sanitising and cleaning measures. All have introduced social distancing measures, face masks and many have done a lot to ensure that, on any excursion, the same social distancing and hygiene rules apply as on board ship. In additional the number of passengers that can be carried had been reduced.

TUI’s own cruise division – Marella – has also announced that it will not bring back cruise holidays before the end of April although it was hoping to restart at the end of March.

Celebrity Cruises (part of Royal Caribbean) has suspended its transatlantic cruises until the end of April on the Celebrity Apex whilst all others have been postponed till the autumn. Other sister companies like Azamara (suspended until the end of April) and Silversea (cancelled till the beginning of April although this is likely to be postponed again) have also deferred sailing dates.

Norwegian has just announced that it has pushed back sailing dates until the end of May from its previous end of April resumption date.

For those who were planning or thinking about an Alaskan cruise, a reminder Due to a Canadian government announcement there will be no large vessel cruises to Alaska this year.

In truth, I can’t see cruises beginning until after Easter since individual countries would have to give permission to dock unless the cruises were just circuits over the oceans. Even then countries probably want to wait until after Easter to judge the impact a single cruise (like the Diamond Princess caused in Japan and the Ruby orincess caused in Sydney) before giving the go-ahead.

In the meantime if you have anything booked, you will have no trouble in rolling your cruise forward.

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