TORONTO — The cruise industry’s recovery is well underway, with several cruise lines announcing resumptions of service and future deployments.
With several cruise lines meeting CDC’s requirements to conduct mandatory test cruises in recent weeks, and the CDC lowering its cruise warning from Level 4 (Very High) to Level 3 (High) last month, the industry, which has been on pause since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, is finally gaining some momentum in its global recovery.
Here are the latest updates:
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
The Carnival Horizon departed PortMiami on July 4 as the cruise line’s first cruise in almost 16 months. The resumption of service in Miami, says Carnival, will provide a significant boost to the local economy and throughout the state. Florida has the most cruise embarkations in the United States, with the cruise industry contributing more than US$9 billion in direct purchases. In Miami-Dade alone, cruise activity generates approximately $7 billion of spend and 40,000 jobs annually.
The ship set sail for a six-day cruise with stops in Amber Cove in the D.R. and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.
On the day of departure, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said: “PortMiami is our #1 homeport in terms of ships and passenger embarkations and today’s return to cruising with Carnival Horizon represents an important first step in getting our company back to business while infusing much-needed capital to the thousands of workers who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood.”
In addition to Carnival Horizon’s departure on July 4, Carnival Vista departed Galveston a day earlier, July 3, for a weeklong cruise with stops in Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Cozumel and Belize City. Carnival Breeze will follow soon after, departing Galveston on July 15, as well as Carnival Miracle departing Seattle on July 27. Mardi Gras, the line’s newest ship, sets sail from Port Canaveral on July 31. Other ships in the Carnival fleet will begin service in August.
Crystal Cruises celebrated the resumption of ocean cruise operations on July 3 with the Crystal Serenity departing the Port of Nassau on July 3 on a seven-night voyage in The Bahamas. The ship will now homeport in The Bahamas through Nov. 13, 2021, departing roundtrip every Saturday for the line’s Luxury Bahamas Escapes. Guests will also have the option of sailing roundtrip from Bimini for Luxury Bahamas Escapes. The seven-day voyages feature an all-Bahamian itinerary exploring the ‘Out Islands,’ also known as the ‘Family Islands,’ with calls in Great Exuma, San Salvador and Long Island.
“This is a historic moment for Crystal, our employees and especially for our officers and crew and we are happy to be back where we belong, sailing the oceans of the world and creating experiences that become cherished lifelong memories,” said Carmen Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Crystal, who attended the Homeporting Inauguration Ceremony in Nassau along with Crystal executives and Bahamian government officials. “We want to thank our travel partners for their support during this long journey back to sailing and our loyal Crystal guests for standing with us and cheering us on to this joyful moment.”
Best available fares for Crystal’s Luxury Bahamas Escapes cruises start from US$1,999 per guest, including $500 Book Now Savings and $500 air savings along with Best Available Savings by category. Guests can take advantage of $100 reduced deposits per person and will receive a $125 per person ‘As You Wish’ shipboard credit with Crystal Society Savings doubling to 5%; new-to-Crystal guests saving 2.5%; and sol fares starting at 125%. Travellers with Future Cruise Credits and Future Cruise Payments may redeem them on these sailings.
After nearly 16 months, Royal Caribbean finally welcomed guests back onboard with the July 2 departure of Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami, the first Royal Caribbean ship in the U.S. to resume operations. The ship set sail with 93% of passengers onboard fully vaccinated on the first cruise of a summer-long series of three-night weekend and four-night weekday getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line’s private island destination in Nassau.
“For a moment as meaningful as Fourth of July weekend, it couldn’t be more appropriate that Freedom of the Seas be the first ship to ring in our return to cruising in the U.S. and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for. Summer family vacations are back and we are just getting started,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
The cruise line is planning for nine more ships to return through August, including Anthem of the Seas in the U.K., Serenade and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska, and the brand new Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale. In the coming weeks Royal Caribbean will announce plans to reintroduce its full fleet around the world by year’s end. The complete 2021 lineup to date is available here.
For a full list of protocols for Freedom’s July cruises click here.