In this week’s cruise news update, we’ve got all the major coverage from the past week with new ship delays, cancellations, protocol changes, and everything you need to know about the new zone on Carnival’s upcoming new ship.
Cruise News Update
It’s been a busy week of cruise news but fear not as Cruise Hive has got you covered on the big headlines that could impact you.
We’ve got the latest developments on the Carnival cruise ship that recently had a fire onboard, plenty of Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations, a delay for the third Virgin Voyages cruise ship, the new zone revealed for Carnival’s second Excel-class vessel, and Princess Cruises making some changes for vacations in Alaska.
Virgin Voyages New Ship Delayed
It’s not good for cruisers who are booked on the third Virgin Voyages cruise ship this year and in early 2023. As the cruise line wants to make sure it can deliver a great cruise experience it’s delaying the launch of its third vessel Resilient Lady. The ship was scheduled to debut out of Athens, Greece, on August 14, 2022, with the first sailing being seven nights long.
Well, that debut has now been put on hold as the Virgin cruise ship is delayed until Spring 2023. Virgin Voyages made the decision due to challenges facing the industry, including supply chain obstacles and a level of regional uncertainty for international travelers in countries in East Europe.
Another reason for the delay in the launch is crew shortages, which have already been impacting other cruise lines. When it comes to staffing ships, it’s based on government regulations and restrictive COVID entry requirements back into the US.
This will also allow Virgin Voyages to remain focused on its two current ships in the fleet, Scarlet Lady in the Caribbean and Valiant Lady in the Mediterranean.
With Resilient Lady now delayed into 2023, it does mean cancellations for guests in 2022 and early 2023. The cruise line is contacting all those impacted about their compensation options.
Virgin Voyages is providing a 200% Future Voyage Credit (FVC) or a full refund of the amount paid, plus 25% FVC. If guests choose the 200% FVC and use it to rebook in 2022, they will get the option of another free voyage.
New Zone Revealed for Carnival Celebration
Carnival Cruise Line has detailed The Gateway themed zone that will be featured onboard the new Carnival Celebration cruise ship. The zone is where the French Quater would be located, as on the sister ship Mardi Gras.
Included in The Gateway will be the new Latitudes Bar, which is inspired by the old bars at airport departure lounges. The bar will have a sizeable split-flap sign above that will measure 16 feet wide and the first-ever at sea.
Emeril’s Bistro will be slightly different from the one found on its sister ship. It will be named Emeril’s Bistro 1397, inspired by Carnival Celebration’s hull number from the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.
Also as part of the zone will be 12 high definition virtual windows with each being almost 10 feet high and five feet wide, along with an LED ceiling of almost 100 feet long. These visual displays will offer a transformational environment with different views throughout the day and night.
During the event when the Gateway Zone was revealed, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy also confirmed that the Bolt roller coaster will be identical to the sister ship Mardi Gras.
The second Excel-class cruise ship will debut this November at the cruise line’s newly upgraded Terminal F at PortMiami in Florida. However, there will be a maiden transatlantic voyage departing Southampton, UK, on November 6. This will be a 14-night sailing that will end in Miami on November 20.
The ship is currently in the final stages of construction and, once complete, will be 182,800 gross tons, making her the largest ship in the fleet. There will also be a passenger capacity of 5,374 at double occupancy and 1,735 international crew members.
Carnival Freedom Returns to Service
After being taken out of service for urgent repairs, the Carnival Freedom cruise ship is bringing back the fun to thousands of guests from June 11.
A fire broke out onboard the Conquest-class vessel on May 26 while docked in Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The fire was mainly within the ship’s iconic red, white and blue funnel and was eventually extinguished with no injuries reported among the crew or guests.
The good news is that the repair work to the Carnival Freedom has now been completed at the Grand Bahama shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. The iconic funnel is not the same as before, and the two fins that come out of the side have both been removed.
The vessel now has a more traditional funnel look. The work started while the ship was still in Grand Turk after a technical team assessed the damage. It’s likely once the ship undergoes a more scheduled official dry dock, the funnel will be fully back to how it was before the fire.
Carnival Freedom will now return to guests operations from Port Canaveral on June 11 as scheduled. The vessel will depart at approximately 3:30 PM on a five-day cruise to Nassau, Princess Cays and Grand Turk.
Norwegian Breakaway Itinerary Changes
The Norwegian Breakaway’s July 17, 2022 sailing from Miami has been altered, and it comes as the cruise line has also modified two other departures on July 31 and August 7. Guests were notified of a significant change with the removal of two ports and some replacements.
The new itinerary out of PortMiami will now start with a call at NCL’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, on July 18. The following day, July 19, will now be a full day at sea.
On July 20, Norwegian Cruise Line is adding a call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then the following day, on July 21, will be a visit to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The voyage will end with two final sea days.
Norwegian Cruise Line did not provide a reason for the itinerary change but did say it was due to unforeseen circumstances.
Norwegian Escape Cancellations
With Norwegian Escape recently being taken out of service after being damaged after running aground in March 2022 in the Dominican Republic, it has come as a surprise that the ship is being pulled from service again. Norwegian Escape will undergo a dry dock starting in early September, which has resulted in cruise cancellations.
Voyages from September 8, 2022, through and including October 2, 2022, have been canceled. The impacted cruises are departures from Civitavecchia, Italy, with round-trip sailings to Greece. The vessel is the first in her class to sail in Europe since 2015.
With the dry dock likely taking place in Europe, it would make sense to schedule this while the Norwegian Escape is already there for the summer season. Norwegian Escape is scheduled to reposition back to Port Canaveral, Florida, in November 2022.
The cruise line has not detailed the reason for the dry dock later this year but did say that it was “required.” The vessel last underwent a scheduled dry dock in October 2020 in Brest, France.
Princess Cruises Changes In Alaska
Carnival-owned Princess Cruises has made the decision to implement a stricter face mask policy due to rising cases in the state of Alaska. So, cruise ships sailing on northbound and southbound Alaska voyages between Whittier and Vancouver now require guests to wear a face mask at all indoor locations.
And while we’re on the topic of Alaska and Princess Cruises, the cruise line has now introduced a new requirement for those doing a cruisetour. Guests now have to produce a negative test result before the start of their pre-cruise land tour.
The test must be taken two days before the tour if guests opt for an antigen test and three days before the tour if guests opt for a PCR test. Guests will still need to take a pre-cruise test before the start of their cruise segment.
Princess Cruises is also closing its Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge due to staffing issues. The lodge will be closed from June 17, 2022.
More Cruise Headlines
So those were just a handful of the cruise headlines from the past week, we’ve got even more updates, including the breaking news that the CDC will drop its testing requirement for incoming flights to the U.S, Carnival Cruise Line returns to Dover for the first time in almost a decade, The new Disney Wish cruise ship is delivered, Holland America Line cancels select cruisetours, Royal Caribbean cruise ship is largest ever to call in Atlantic Canada and so much more.