Ocean cruising delayed again

By | Category: Travel news

It seems only yesterday that Just about Travel chronicled that the trade body for the cruise industry – CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) had recommended not starting cruises until the autumn.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth

Costa started short voyages for residents from Italy and – touch wood – there have no coronavirus cases yet but other cruise companies are unwilling to start up.

Hurtigruten has had some cases but voyages in the last week seem to have been virus-free.

Although TUI’s German based cruise division has re-started, its UK arm which is branded as Marella has extended its cancellations up to 15 November. The reason?  “ongoing uncertainty around travel restrictions.”

Cunard – part of the Carnival collection of cruise companies has been even more cautious. They have announced that they won’t restart cruises until 25 March 2021 for Queen Elizabeth, until 18 April for QM2 and until 16 May for Queen Victoria.

What is concerning cruise companies as well as tour operators and airlines is the speed with which some countries have virtually blocked travel to other destinations by imposing “don’t fly” notices.

The difficulties and news stories about people trying to return before quarantine restrictions were imposed has left  some worried bosses who won’t want to suddenly have to cancel, postpone, re-route hundreds of travellers with all the costs that would be involved. They consider that just keeping businesses ticking over might be preferable until the industry sees whether there is a substantial rise in cases this winter as many people seem to suggest there will be.

Cunard is also altering its cruise programme so that longer cruises will be replaced by shorter ones and they will be closer to where there passengers are likely to be. For example when the Queen Elizabeth cruises again next March it will be around the British Isles almost as though Cunard will be using those voyages as “test” runs to see how the cruises work out.

Gradually the cruises will spread out into the Mediterranean and they will also get longer.

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