Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Dream Cruises were among a list of lines announcing plans to restart sailing in an exciting week of positive news for cruise fans.
The flurry of positive statements has come as vaccine roll-out progress and regulations relax across the world, and talk of vaccine passports are beginning to firm up as a way forward for international travel.
The good news includes Celebrity Cruises returning to US waters as soon as July, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) redeploying eight additional ships and Dream Cruises resuming operations in Hong Kong beginning in July.
Elsewhere, Regent Seven Seas has announced a plan to have all five of its ships from The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet sailing over the coming months and Chilean cruise line Australis will be returning to sailing around Patagonia from September.
Celebrity, NCL, Dream and Regent Seven Seas will all be sailing with fully vaccinated crews and requiring passengers to show proof of vaccination.
This news comes as Australian cruise operators step up their efforts to persuade the government to allow a phased resumption of cruising, spearheaded by Cruise Lines International Association Australia’s ‘Ready! Set! Sail!’ campaign. Some 33,000 industry and members of the public have sent messages to MPs asking for support for the return of cruise.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said: “An enormous amount has been achieved in many parts of the world and there’s no reason why similar successes can’t be achieved in Australia and New Zealand. Cruise lines have worked incredibly hard to develop the new health protocols that are making it possible to resume sailing in various locations around the world, and we believe there’s an opportunity to implement these measures here.
“We can see from the experience of other countries that strict health protocols – like 100% testing of guests and crew – can allow a careful and responsible resumption of cruising. There’s growing confidence in these measures worldwide, and this is reflected in the fact that more countries are opening the way for cruising to resume. As we gain more evidence of the success of sailings overseas, we build a stronger case for cruising to resume locally. We have outlined the cruise industry’s new health protocols to governments in Australia and New Zealand during extensive discussions, and now they have an opportunity to see how these measures work in practice overseas.”
Celebrity Cruises has proudly announced they’ll be the first line to be back sailing in the US, with Celebrity Edge set to take to the seas on June 26, taking on a seven-night itinerary starting from Port Everglades in Florida.
Celebrity Cruises CEO and President Lisa Lutoff-Perlo has spoken inspiringly about the development.
“For the past 15 months our conversations with friends and loved ones about seeing the world have been accompanied by the phrase ‘someday’. I’m beyond proud and excited to say that day has arrived.”
“The power of travel has a way of healing our souls as we connect with cultures, sights and experiences that bring greater joy and renewed energy to our lives. We’ve been preparing for this day for months and, on behalf of all of us at Celebrity Cruises, we’re ready and we can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard once again.”
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL has announced it will be resuming operations from additional US and international ports this Autumn, redeploying eight additional ships.
Guests will be aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, Encore, Escape, Pearl, Jewel, Sun, Spirit and Norwegian’s Pride of America and once again ready to explore destinations like Hawaii, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Asia and more.
NCL has also announced it will be returning to Seattle for the Alaska cruise season, starting from August 7, only just over two months from now.
The Norwegian Jade will begin cruising in Greece on July 25, which happens to mark 500 days since NCL last sailed.
NCL president Harry Sommer talks through the return.
“I am so happy that we’re finally getting back to what we love the most, and I’m very proud that we continue to redeploy our fleet methodically. We always said we wouldn’t rush to sail again, but that we’d get back to it when we felt we could do so safely while maintaining our incomparable guest experience.”
“We cannot wait to see our guests rediscover the world and make memories with their loved ones again.”
Dream Cruises has announced it will return to sailing in Hong Kong from July, with the Genting Dream taking passengers on two and three night ‘Super Summer Seacations.’
Genting Dream has been ranked as one of ‘The top 10 Large Resort Ships’ in the Berlitz Cruise and Cruise Ships Guide 2020. Guests will be able to watch a show in the Zodiac Theatre, take kids to the Glow Bowling or Arcade, or even take on a rope course or rock climbing wall, as well as visit the waterslide park to soak up some sun.
While most borders are still closed, Dream Cruises is going to make them feel very open, bringing ‘Japanese Festival’ during August and September and a ‘Nordic Christmas’ during November and December.
Dream Cruises and their Genting Cruise Line was the first line to resume service in Asia and has already been operating for 11 months in Taiwan and seven months in Singapore, welcoming nearly 180,000 guests without any COVID incidents.
Oceania Cruises has announced it will resume cruise operations with three additional ships, Riviera, Insignia and Sirena between October 2021 and January 2022.
Riviera will start sailing from Istanbul on October 18, beginning continuing along a range of Mediterranean itineraries for the rest of the season, before moving to the Northern Hemisphere to sail to Caribbean from Miami in the 2021-2022 northern hemisphere winter.
Insignia will be sailing from December 21 from Miami to the Panama Canal, before starting its sold-out 180-day Around the World Cruise.
Sirena has a slightly longer wait, starting from January 22, with a Caribbean voyage from Miami to Panama City.
Bob Binder, the line’s President and CEO commented: “This is an exciting day for our guests and team members alike as we begin to prepare another three ships to resume sailing in Europe, the Caribbean, and the eagerly anticipated kick off of our epic Around the World in 180 Days voyage for 2022.”
Regent Seven Seas
The September return of Seven Seas Splendor had already been confirmed by Regent Seven Seas, but today they have announced the return for the rest of The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet, with all five ships set to be back on the open ocean by February 2022.
Seven Seas Explorer will be taking guests again from October 16, sailing from Venice. The ship will also take on a new Caribbean winter season, featuring eight new sailings starting from December.
Seven Seas Mariner will return on December 18 cruising from Miami to San Francisco, before beginning a huge World Cruise on January 5.
Seven Seas Navigator will start sailing from January 6 from Miami, taking on a series of 2022 Southern Caribbean winter sailings.
Seven Seas Voyager will begin its five new Mediterranean voyages from February 15, before starting its 2022 European summer season from April 15.
Chilean cruise line Australis has announced it will resume sailing from September 25, with a Fjords of Tierra del Fuego four-night itinerary and the eight night ‘Darwin’s Route’ beginning from Punta Arenas.
Australis runs a seasonal program of short cruises on the Chilean side of Patagonia, the line can only operate from late September to early April because there’s too little sunlight during the South American winter, making their confirmed September return a big relief for the line.
Sales Director for North America Felipe Castro Toovey talked through the planned schedule.
“We didn’t have a season between September 2020 and April 2021. But now we have confirmed our schedule with our two main vessels. The Stella is based in Punta Arenas, and the Ventus is based in Ushuaia. And we flip them on four-night cruises. So, you can do a one-way cruise, getting on in Ushuaia and getting off in Puntarenas or exactly the opposite. Or you can take the eight nights with one or do a sort of combination.”