Carnival Cruise Line has already announced its plans for a phased resumption of sailing, and passengers are loving it – a report this week said bookings were up an astounding 600 percent on the previous week and 200 percent on the same time last year after the company announced it would set sail again in August.
It’s little wonder Carnival cruises have been selling like hotcakes since Carnival has been tempting passengers with prices as low as $28 per day.
But let’s take a look at what other cruise lines are doing.
Royal Caribbean has yet to announce when it will resume voyages, but almost a month has passed since it last announced an extension of its suspension of sailing – leading some industry observers to believe that an announcement could be on the cards.
With CEO Richard Fain at pains to stress the company’s corporate responsibility and the need to play it safe in the face of the pandemic, we believe that Royal Caribbean will let others test the waters before making an announcement and will not jump the gun by stating when it returns before the CDC has given an update its no sail order, which can run until July 24.
The company’s previous extension runs until June 11, while Canada, New England, and Alaska sailings are cancelled through June 30 as a result of the Great White North has closed its port up until that date.
”We expect to return to service on June 12,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement, but TrvlTrend won’t be surprised to see another extension before they sail again.
Will Norwegian sail again soon as well?
As for the last of the big three, Norwegian Cruise Lines, it’s CEO Frank Del Rio gave an interview earlier this week to The Points Guy in which he said: “I believe it’s going to be soon.”
But Del Rio was smart enough to temper that comment by saying he doesn’t know when soon is and that the determinant factor is not when we want to go, or when we are ready to go. It’s when the government … is ready to let us go.”
The Points Guy pushed Del Rio for a more concrete response, but the Norwegian CEO would only say, “sometime in the third quarter, more likely than not the back end of the third quarter.”
The third quarter runs July, August, September and as we have already said, it looks like the CDC has already ruled out much of the first of those, so as you won’t be celebrating Independence Day at sea, it’s time to start making alternative plans,
With lockdown orders being in several states, you could yet be able to hold a barbecue with friends.
Whether the CDC will extend its no-sail order again will very much depend on circumstances, but with President Trump pushing for an opening up of the economy, bar a major worsening of the situation, and given that states are emerging from lockdowns, there will be pressure to allow cruise lines to set sail.
What about the smaller lines?
One line that has already announced plans to resume sailing is Norway-based Hurtigruten, which expects to set sail again on June 16.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty in what the next weeks and months will bring. However, we do see international restrictions gradually being lifted. Step by step, the pandemic is being brought under control. Businesses [in Norway] are re-opening and everyday life is slowly getting back to a degree of normality,” said CEO Daniel Skjeldam.
He said that the Hurtigruten will gradually restart Arctic expedition cruises this summer and that from June 16, the company will make individual decisions for each voyage.
If you want to read about why expedition cruises are likely to be among the first to resume operations and why they have a big advantage over mega cruise ships then click here.
Another European liner that has announced plans to lift anchor is Marella Cruises, with the caveat that the situation is safe to sail, and only with three of its five ships.
UK tycoon Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages had rescheduled to celebrate his 70th birthday with a special sailing on July 15th, but the company’s website currently has a first available sailing scheduled only for August 7.
Also in the UK, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is reporting an uptick in bookings for no-fly cruises. :“Our experience over the last two to three weeks is that the UK is thinking again about a cruise holiday in 2021,” says the cruise line’s marketing director Mike Hall.
Italy’s Costa Cruises has said it could resume service in June if the situation allows, while Germany’s AIDA Cruises could resume service at the beginning of July.
Bottom line, other than Hurtigruten, Carnival Cruises, and some river cruise operators, no-one has concrete plans to resume service this year and if you are sailing from the United States, the last word will be the CDC’s.