This last week has been really busy with cruise updates - a whole lot of new UK domestic cruises announced from multiple companies; extension of Norwegian Cruise line suspension; Celebrity Cruises starting sailing in St. Maarten; AIDA relaunching its service in the Canaries; Royal Caribbean to start from the Bahamas
AIDA restarted operations
As planned, AIDA cruises has restarted its operations with AIDAperla in the Canary Islands on Friday 20 March.
It is the second restart for the ship and the third restart for AIDA cruise line. The cruise line resumed operations in October and again in December.
The AIDAperla itinerary will depart from Gran Canaria, includes the port of La Palma, overnight in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a call in Fuerteventura and one in Lanzarote.
The ship was built in 2017 - it is sailing with 800 guests onboard, which is 25% of its lower bed passenger capacity.
Royal Caribbean to resume in the Bahamas
Royal Caribbean has announced that they will resume cruising in June from Nassau in the Bahamas on Adventure of the Seas, starting 12 June through to August 2021, with bookings opening on 24 March 2021.
All crew members will be vaccinated and passengers over 18 will have to show a proof of vaccination for Covid-19 to enjoy the sailing. Children under the age of 18 that have not been vaccinated will need a negative PCR test.
The itinerary will depart from Nassau on 7 night cruises, including two nights stay in CocoCay, Royal’s private island, as well as calls to Grand Bahamas and Cozumel.
Celebrity Cruises to resume in St. Maarten
Celebrity Cruises has announced the resumption of its operations onboard the Celebrity Millennium in the Caribbean, but not in the US. The ship will home-port in St. Maarten from 5 June 2021; bookings will open from 25 March.
Two different 7 night itineraries will be available. One itinerary will call at Barbados, St. Lucia and Tortola while the other itinerary will call in Aruba, Barbados and Curacao.
All passengers over the age of 18 will have to show proof of vaccination before sailing. Children under 18 will require a negative PCR test, taken 72 hours before departure. Crew members will all be vaccinated. This is in line with the rest of the Royal Caribbean policy.
Princess Cruises update
Princess Cruises has further extended its suspension of operations out of Seattle, USA through 27 June 2021. This follows the Canadian government's decision to ban cruising until February 2022.
On a positive note, we know more about Princess Cruises resuming operations in the UK.
From 21 July through to 23 September 2021, the Regal Princess will offer 14 itineraries. Then starting on 30 August until 28 September 2021, the Sky Princess will offer 8 itineraries.
These itineraries will range from 3 night to 7 night cruises calling at Belfast, Liverpool and Greenock.
Only passengers that are both vaccinated and residents in the UK will be allowed on these itineraries. All travellers will also require travel insurance.
The itineraries will be open for booking from 24 March 2021.
MSC Cruises to sail in the UK
MSC Cruises will be starting its UK operations on 20 May 2021, a couple of days earlier than previously announced. The ship or the ships have not yet been communicated.
MSC will be the first line to kickstart the UK cruise season following the Covid-19 pandemic, even before P&O cruises, the UK cruise line.
Mr Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, stated that passengers will be allowed to embark at various ports and not only from Southampton.
The exact ports of call and length of departures will be communicated within the next couple of days. MSC Cruises is the only cruise line that will resume sailing in the UK that will not require a COVID vaccination for all passengers, as they are confident in their current testing process and embarkation health and safety protocols.
P&O Cruises released UK sailings
On 16 March, P&O Cruises announced its UK itineraries. The Britannia will sail on 3, 4 and 6 night cruises from 27 June to 19 September 2021. These itineraries depart from Southampton and will not include any ports of call.
P&O Iona, will start sailing from 7 August to 18 September 2021 and offer 7 night cruises. The ship will be based out of Southampton and will call at the islands of Iona and the Inner Herbrides.
Norwegian Cruise Line to cancel June
Norwegian Cruise Line Holding has further cancelled all cruises for all brands through 30 June 2021. This extension of suspension includes Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines.