Forget ocean cruises this summer?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

It is quite difficult to conclude which sector of tourism has been hit hardest by the pandemic.

The Aida Nova in Funchal, Madeira in February 2020

Aviation has been clobbered and the trade union for airlines, IATA, estimates that some $82 billion will be lost this year and losses will continue into next year as well. But whilst airlines are lookin g to fly with up to half of their capacity during summer and slightly more during the autumn and winter, ocean cruising might have been hit worst of all.

Virtually all ocean cruises have been suspended through the summer.

Companies are hoping people will return but images of passengers being quarantined in ports as the outbreak grew, of ships being refused permission to dock and aimlessly sailing elsewhere and of passengers leaving and then introducing COVID-19 hotspots in countries will remain with some people for a long while.

Some particular routes like the popular west coast routes from the US via Canada to Alaska have gone entirely partly due to an arcane 100 year old act that means that any cruise ship travelling up the coast has to dock at a Canadian port. Canada has banned cruises until the end of October so the short summer season in which the route operates has gone for 2020.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) a similar body to IATA but for the cruise industry has suspended all operations by cruise line members out of US ports until at least the 15th of September so that ends Caribbean cruising for the summer as well.

Closer to home, Marella Cruises, the TUI brand, looks to have cancelled cruises up until almost the end of August and is offering those booked during September and October the opportunity to alter cruise bookings free of charge provided that it is done before July 31st. It’s cruises from Mallorca in the Balearics are cancelled up until the end of October and its cruise out of Newcastle in September is cancelled.

Almost all sailings of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas are suspended until September 30th.

Carnival – the biggest cruise company in the world with brands like Cunard, Priness, Holland-America, Seabourn Costa, AIDA and P&O – has cancelled all cruises until September 30th with some of its ships not operating until after the end of the following month.

In one of the shortest press releases I have ever seen – just four lines – Royal Caribbean suspended most sailings until September the 15th.  It also owns Celebrity and Azamara cruise companies and they also have suspended all cruises until September 15th at the earliest.

Saga has suspended Spirit of Discovery cruises further until 1st September. Her sister ship, Spirit of Discovery sails on her maiden voyage on September 28th.

MSC Cruises have halted all cruise departures until July 31st. It has also cancelled all sailings from U.S. ports as well as in the Caribbean until September 15th.

Celestyal, the Cypriot based cruise company has cancelled all cruises until March 6th 2021.

Dream Cruises will restart cruising from July 26th but will only provide short cruises of just a few days initially out and around South Asia

If you are affected most cruise lines are offering credits against future sailings of 125% which should be a sufficient cushion against price rises in the short term. It doesn’t offer protection if you think the cruise line may not survive.

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