Cruise
Adviser

Cruise
Adviser

In this Issue

News: 2020 delays result in bumper 2021

This is set to be a record-breaking year with an expected 31 vessels due to be delivered

News: Viking floats out expedition ship

Plus, an interview with Steve Wellmeier from Poseidon Expeditions

News: Princess cancels cruises until May

The line had previous suspended operations until the end of March

News: Global Travel Taskforce report published

Plus, Saga becomes the first line to gain health accreditation

News: Norwegian launches NCL Freestyle Rewards

Plus, Stuart Byron from Royal Caribbean talks about their 2022 summer season

News: Incentives and new hires

The latest industry offers and appointments

News: MSC partners with ABP in Southampton

Plus, Celebrity Cruises launches its new Always Included concept

News: Cancellations

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

News: Majority of luxury guests plan 2021 cruises

Plus, we chat to Fred Olsen about the ex-UK market

News: Cruises could return in January

Ministers are discussing a ‘phased restart’, plus P&O Cruises switches trade focus

News: Princess’s 2022 Alaska programme

Plus, we chat to Ron Peck, director of tourism development at Port of Seattle

News: Clia lines pause sailings in US

Move comes despite CDC advice change; plus, Andy Harmer on what Clia’s commitment to testing means for the future of cruise

News: Viking develops testing lab

Line announces first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea; plus MSC change schedules

News: Cancellations

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

Comment: Where next for Cruise?

Princess’s Tony Roberts on new developments in the cruise sector and Saga’s Iain Powell on the the impact on the older generation

Comment: Where next for Cruise?

Royal Caribbean’s Ben Bouldin on innovation and Scenic’s Joseph Grimley on the draw of the small ship

Comment: Where next for Cruise?

AmaWaterways’ Jamie Loizou on river cruise and Seabourn’s Lynn Narraway on the returning luxury traveller

News: Opportunities for adventure

HAL’s Alaska season; Monique Ponfoort, CEO at Aurora on expedition cruising

News: Incentives and new hires

The latest industry offers and appointments

News: Cancellations

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

News

Cruisers ready to return …

The latest Clia report reveals the majority of cruise passengers are happy to take a cruise in the next year


About two-thirds of regular cruise passengers are willing to take a cruise in the next year, while 58 per cent of non-cruisers are willing to try it in the coming years, according to the latest report by Clia.

The 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report outlined that there is a positive story going into 2021, with 27 Clia member cruise ships due to launch next year – taking Clia’s global fleet to 270 vessels.

Kelly Craighead, Clia president and chief executive, said: “For the cruise community, there is no denying that 2020 was not the year we anticipated. Still, the industry wasted no time adjusting course to address the challenges before us.

“Clia’s 2021 report highlights the extraordinary steps the cruise community took to develop and implement enhanced public health protocols to keep putting people first, while continuing to focus on innovation and responsible tourism practices that make cruising the best way to experience the world.”

The report also found that passengers spent $385 in port cities before boarding a cruise and $100 in each port during a cruise. The full 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report can be viewed here.

As we reported in December, the UK government has published its full Global Travel Taskforce report, which explores the return of cruise.

However, the report reveals that it has been proposed by Public Health England that it may be appropriate to resume cruises when the national alert level is at level 3 and when a move to level 2 is being considered by the Chief Medical Officer.

The report says: “It is critical that we proceed cautiously and are mindful of the public health risks as we consider when it is safe to restart cruises, and whether it is safe to move between stages.

“The protection of public health must come first, while enabling economic recovery and the growth of the sector. We need to ensure that there are clear public health measures so that we can increase demand for cruises safely.

“However, it is also vital that we provide clarity on the conditions for cruise restart to enable the sector to undertake effective financial forecasting for their businesses (and ensure financial viability); communicate with clarity to their crew, supporting travel supply chain and customers; secure future bookings for 2021 and beyond; and plan for operational restart.”

It also notes that FCDO travel advice on cruises is kept under continuous review and that the transition between each phase would be subject to agreement by the Department for Transport, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Public Health England, the Foreign Office and other bodies. See more here.

News

… as 31 ships set to arrive

Only 12 of 22 planned cruise ships were delivered in 2020 as Covid-19 disrupted a year when the industry’s exponential growth was set to continue.

As a result, 2021 is set to be a record-breaking year with an expected 31 vessels due to be delivered, worth a staggering $13.6 billion in total, according  to Vessels Value, which monitors shipping data.

The current cruise order book sits at 104 vessels, worth an aggregated value of $60.3 billion, accounting for 34 per cent of the overall global shipping order book.

After ordering activity between 2014 and 2018, last year was due to the following the record-breaking 2019 for delivery of vessels.

However, as the infographic on the next page shows, deployment fell as demand plummeted record lows due to restrictions brought about by Covid-19.

Ordering has slowed significantly, according to the company, with delays introduced.

Major operators chose to remove their older, less efficient vessels from their fleets meaning that, in 2020, the balance between removals and deliveries was more aligned for the first time in many years.

Guy Cooper, cargo analyst at VesselsValue, said: “Going forward, cruise companies and shipbuilders must now be cautious not to oversupply the market without the increase in demand to match. By 2028 the fleet is projected to increase in size by 28 per cent, with the ability to carry over 925,000 passengers at any given time.

“Hopefully the Covid-19 vaccine will be the catalyst that propels the cruise industry back onto its previous positive trajectory. The stock market is already starting to reflect this with share prices for the major cruise lines over double what they were back in April.”

News

Viking floats out expedition ship

Viking Octantis takes to the water in Norway; it is set to debut in January 2022


Viking Cruises has officially floated out Viking Octantis, its first expedition vessel. The ship, which is set to debut in January 2022, has now touched the water for the first time – marking a key construction milestone in its development.

The 378-guest ship is being built at the Fincantieri Vard shipyard in Norway and it will now move to a nearby outfitting dock for further construction and interior build out. It will spend its maiden season in Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition ship, Viking Polaris, will launch in summer 2022.

Viking has also developed a series of short videos about the new expedition voyages, ship design and prestigious scientific partnerships, which can be found on its website here.

“Working with Fincantieri over the last eight years, we have built the world’s most beautiful ocean ships. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Fincantieri’s Vard and celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our first expedition vessel,” said Viking chairman Torstein Hagen.

“In creating ‘the thinking person’s expedition’, we are perfecting polar expedition cruising, and we will usher in a new era of comfortable exploration in the heart of North America.

Viking Octantis and her sister ship, Viking Polaris, will allow our guests to explore further – to the ends of the earth as well as closer to home. I would like to thank our partners at Vard and everyone working at the yard for the hard work and dedication on the building of Viking Octantis; we look forward to welcoming her to our fleet in early 2022.”

Interview

Poseidon Expeditions

News

Princess cancels cruises until May

The line had previously suspended Caribbean, European and US cruises until the end of March


Princess Cruises has extended its global suspension until May 14, 2021. It had previously suspended sailings until the end of March. The new pause includes all Caribbean, European and US cruises.

“We appreciate the patience from our loyal guests and travel agents as we work to meet the health and safety requirements for our return to service,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.

“We continue to prepare our ships for our return to service and we are eager to see our guests back onboard to create summertime memories.”

Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages will have the option to receive a refundable future cruise credit equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid, plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25 per cent of the cruise fare paid.

To receive the above FCCs, no action is required by the guest or their travel agent. The future cruise credits can be used on any cruises booked by May 1, 2022 and sailing by December 31, 2022.

Princess will protect travel agent commission on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full. The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found on the Princess website here.

Promotion

Waterfront Publishing

News

Global Travel Taskforce report published

It says that now is not the time for the resumption of cruise, but suggests a framework for a phased restart


The UK government has published its full Global Travel Taskforce report, which explores the return of cruise.

The report says that since there has been a significant rise in Covid-19 cases both in the UK and abroad, now is not the right time for the resumption of cruise.

However, the report reveals that it has been proposed by Public Health England that it may be appropriate to resume cruises when the national alert level is at level 3 and when a move to level 2 is being considered by the Chief Medical Officer.

The report says: “It is critical that we proceed cautiously and are mindful of the public health risks as we consider when it is safe to restart cruises, and whether it is safe to move between stages.

“The protection of public health must come first, while enabling economic recovery and the growth of the sector. We need to ensure that there are clear public health measures so that we can increase demand for cruises safely.

“However, it is also vital that we provide clarity on the conditions for cruise restart to enable the sector to undertake effective financial forecasting for their businesses (and ensure financial viability); communicate with clarity to their crew, supporting travel supply chain and customers; secure future bookings for 2021 and beyond; and plan for operational restart.”

The report recommends publishing the criteria for when cruises can restart and agreeing to implement a phased approach to restart when the public health advice is that it is safe to do so.

It also notes that FCDO travel advice on cruises is kept under continuous review and that transition between each phase would be subject to agreement by the Department for Transport, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Public Health England, the Foreign Office and other bodies. See more here.

Meanwhile, a number of cruise lines have extended their suspensions after a public health institute in the US advised against cruising. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. It said this was because the “risk of Covid-19 on cruise ships is very high”.

Holland America Line has announced that it is extending its pause of cruise operations for all departures up until March 31, 2021, bringing it in line with its Carnival sister brand, Princess Cruises, which has also cancelled all cruises until the same date. P&O Cruises has extended its pause in operations until April 2021.

The line’s president Paul Ludlow said: “With hopeful news headlines clearly we do not want to extend our pause in operations any further than absolutely necessary, but given the ever-changing guidance around international travel and the varying regulations in many European ports of call we felt it prudent to cancel these additional dates.”

SeaDream Yacht Club has cancelled the rest of its 2020 season after a Caribbean cruise on SeaDream 1 was cut short when a number of guests tested positive for Covid-19. The vessel returned to Barbados with passengers and non-essential crew quarantined in their cabins, in what the line described as “an abundance of caution”, but later confirmed that seven guests and two crew members tested positive for Covid-19 by Barbados health authorities.

News

Saga becomes the first line to gain health accreditation

Lloyd’s Register has awarded the line their highest category of health assurance, ahead of their planned return in the spring


Saga has become the first cruise line to be awarded with a health accreditation by Lloyd’s Register, the maritime safety experts, for Covid-19 health assurance.

The company said that the move was a crucial step ahead of the planned return of sailings in Spring next year. Lloyd’s Register has awarded Saga the Shield+ accreditation, the highest category of health assurance they have.

The framework is designed to give customers greater confidence in how operators can handle infectious diseases, such as Covid-19 and norovirus.

The accreditation means that Saga has met every category set by the UK Chamber of Shipping in its Covid Secure Cruising guidance.

Nick Stace, Saga’s CEO of travel, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the highest health and safety accreditation from Lloyd’s Register for our two ships – the newest on the seas. We have been working with the government, all the relevant authorities and our peers in the cruise industry to put in place all the measures needed to ensure a safe return to cruising. At Saga we believe that our ships offer one of the safest places in the world to see the world.

“This important step removes one of the last barriers to a safe return for cruising. We know there is considerable pent up demand from our customers for cruising. In our most recent round of cancellations, more than 80 per cent of guests immediately rolled their booking over to a new cruise and our guests tell us they are ready to sail. Being the first cruise operator to achieve Lloyd’s Register’s Shield+ accreditation is testament to the work done by all our Saga colleagues and brings us one step closer to welcoming our guests back onboard our ships in the safest capacity possible.”

Joep Bollerman, Lloyd’s Register’s Global Passenger Ship Manager, said: “We are delighted to award our first ever Shield+ certification to Saga. Our new standards are based on medical science from the global health industry, including guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in line with the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia).

“Shield+ provides a detailed survey and inspection regime of the key areas where health risks are elevated, which helps operators like Saga maintain the highest health standards at sea.”

News

Norwegian launches NCL Freestyle Rewards

All partners registered by the end of February will also be entered to win a seven-day fly-cruise for two to the Western Mediterranean onboard Norwegian Epic


Norwegian Cruise Line  has announced the launch of NCL Freestyle Rewards, a new incentive programme where individual UK travel partners can earn and collect points towards thousands of gifts or vouchers of their choice.

The initiative is the latest in a series of innovations by NCL to provide its travel partners with the utmost support in the run-up to the relaunch of its cruise operations. NCL Freestyle Rewards follows the recent introduction of the brand-new travel agent portal and resource centre Norwegian Central and the new fly-cruise booking platform NCL AirSee the next page for more incentives.

Eamonn Ferrin, VP and managing director of NCL UK & Ireland and MEA said: “We can’t stress enough how incredibly thankful we are for the commitment, hard work and loyalty our travel partners continue to show us at all times. As we enter a new year that provides for novel opportunities for the travel business, we want to offer our valued partners another tool to help them capitalise on the great pent-up demand we see for our cruises, all while rewarding them for their continuous dedication.”

NCL Freestyle Rewards points are awarded based on different booking factors, including stateroom category and cruise itinerary, encouraging agents to identify opportunities to upsell and maximise their point earning potential in the process, it said.

Travel agents have 40 days from booking date to claim their points, with rewards ranging from 200 points for a two to six-day balcony cruise, to 800 points for voyages of seven plus days in The Haven by Norwegian. NCL will run regular promotions and provide bonuses for specific booking types, enabling agents to earn even more.

With no cap on points, travel partners have unlimited earning potential and access to a bespoke online catalogue featuring a diverse collection of luxury, wellness, grooming and lifestyle products, best-in-class technology and seasonal items.

NCL Freestyle Rewards points are available to the agent as soon as they are earned and valid for up to 24 months, providing travel partners with instant awards or the option to collect and save points for higher valued items.

The catalogue is regularly updated and gives agents access to the likes of the latest Apple iPhone, Canon digital cameras, GHD hair products, kids’ toys and books and much more. Points may also be redeemed for gift vouchers for grocery shops, high street fashion brands, experiences or may be applied towards a charitable donation.

In celebration of the NCL Freestyle Rewards launch, the company is offering 50 bonus points to all agents who register by February 28 to start their membership.

As an added incentive, the 500th, 1,000th, 1,500th and 2,000th travel agents to sign up will each get an additional 1,000 points. All partners registered by the end of February will also be entered to win a seven-day fly-cruise for two to the Western Mediterranean on Norwegian Epic.

For more information on NCL Freestyle Rewards, see at nclfreestylerewards.com. Travel partners can apply for membership on the site or e-mail ukpartnershiprelations@ncl.com to register for an account.

Interview

Royal Caribbean International

Incentives and events

Wave offers from Virgin Voyages, MSC, Regent and many more

Virgin Voyages has revealed offers including cruise savings, onboard credit and a bonus bar tab as part of its Wave campaign. It has also launched a new online learning platform for agents called Seacademy. The new platform will serve as a one-stop shop for all things Virgin Voyages for agents, which Virgin calls First Mates.

MSC Cruises has launched its Wave promotion which will see a Premium Drinks Package included on all bookings made on the ‘Fantastica Experience’. The promotion is available for all bookings made until midnight on April 30, and includes all summer 2021 and winter 2021/2022 itineraries.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched Upgrade Your Horizon, where guests can enjoy a two-category suite upgrade, up to a Penthouse Suite, on all published cruises when booked between now and February 28.

Royal Caribbean Group is to make a $40 million available to loan to travel agents as part of its RCL Cares programme. The loan initiative is called Pay it Forward. The loans will be for up to $250,000 for qualifying travel agents – although the company said “businesses still need financial wherewithal during this intervening period of slower-than-usual business”. The loans will for three years and will be interest-free.

Norwegian Cruise Line has launched Norwegian Central, a new trade portal which it says will help agents learn, market and sell NCL holidays more easily. Here agents gain direct single log-in access to NCL’s agent booking engine Seaweb, as well to a complete relaunch of NCL’s  training platform NCL University (NCLU). It has also launched NCL Air – a platform for fly-cruise bookings which is now available in the UK and continental Europe.

Princess Cruises has extended its 2021 ex-UK season for Sky Princess as part of its Dream With Us sale. The ship, one of the newest in the Princess fleet, will now sail six extra cruises out of Southampton. Prices start from £499 for a seven-night sailing.

It has also introduced a new Princess Promise, reassuring guests that Princess will “make it right” for any onboard service that did not meet their expectations. This may include, but is not limited to, onboard credits, future cruise credits or refunds.

Cunard is offering onboard spend and accommodation upgrades on select voyages as part of its Wave campaign. The offers are available on cruises up to 2023.

Azamara, Royal Caribbean’s destination focused cruise line, has revealed its Wave offer, which will see guests able to take advantage of 40 per cent fare reductions for sailings between March 20, 2021 and May 13, 2022.

P&O Cruises has increased agent commission by one per cent and will give away an additional 100,000 Shine points during the peak booking period until March as a reward for support shown by agents in 2020.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is offering guests up to £600 to spend on board or a free drinks package as part of its annual Cruise Sale. The offer runs until February 2 and includes more than 120 cruises in 2021 and 2022.

Intrepid Travel has launched an incentive giving agents the chance to win a trip to Antarctica. Agents can enter the Race to the Pole incentive by selling an Intrepid trip or joining one of the company’s webinars. Those who make an Antarctica booking will receive five entries into the competition, which runs until February 28. The prize includes flights, transfers, pre/post-departure accommodation and a single berth in a twin window cabin on Ocean Endeavour in the 2022/23 season.

AmaWaterways has launched its second training course on AmaAcademy, its online training platform, focusing on the Danube. The course is designed to help agents increase their sales on the popular river. Travel agents who make a reservation with a deposit within 90 days of completing the new course qualify to earn a £25 Love2shop voucher – limited to one voucher per agent.

Scenic has unveiled its Wave offer, including savings of 20 per cent on Scenic Eclipse sailings, until February 15. Guests booking a 2022 European river cruise can save up to £1,500 per couple while those booking Southeast Asia river cruises can save up to £2,500.

Holland America Line has extended its two per cent bonus commission for travel agents until the end of January. The offer is valid on all 2021 Alaska, Europe and Canada & New England cruises for new bookings made by January 31.

New hires

Charitable Travel hires head of partnerships; Charlotte Humphrey returns to Princess

Charitable Travel has hired Alison Nicholls as its head of partnerships.
Nicholls has previously held roles with NSC Universal and British Airways.
The founder of the new ‘travel for good’ agency, Melissa Tilling, said: “Ali’s experience, relationships and professionalism are a perfect fit to enable us to develop partnerships.
“We aim, as a team, to create the maximum amount of charity donation value from marketing campaigns in the coming months and years. Ali shares my love of our social purpose to support great causes.”
Nicholls added: “I am staggered by what Melissa and the Charitable Travel team have achieved already, in what will be forever in our memories as the most challenging year the industry has ever encountered.
“Travel will bounce back. At Charitable Travel we will be conversing with consumers and highlighting their ability to give back by booking their trips.”

Princess Cruises has announced that Charlotte Humphrey has returned to its PR team.
Humphrey worked for the Southampton-based cruise line between 2015 and 2017 before leaving the company to go travelling. Most recently she worked for Clia’s UK team as communications manager.
David Sanders, formerly the director of UK & Ireland PR for Princess, is now overseeing Clia’s UK PR function.

The Anguilla Tourist Board has hired Stacey Liburd as its new director of tourism.
Haydn Hughes, minister of tourism, said: “The ATB will be strengthened by this appointment that was made by me after careful consideration in consultation with my tourism partners and in keeping with the ATB Act.
“Mrs Liburd possesses the skills to help navigate the day-to-day operations during these unprecedented times and she has our confidence and support as we forge ahead.”
News

MSC partners with ABP for fifth Southampton cruise terminal

The new terminal will be ready in 2021 and will be home to MSC Magnifica for its ex-UK season


MSC Cruises is to partner with ABP Southampton on a new fifth cruise terminal at the port.

The new terminal will be ready for the 2021 cruise season and will be home to MSC Magnifica for the ship’s second ex-UK season.

MSC confirmed that it will continue to homeport at least one ship throughout the partnership with Southampton, while it also expects other ships from its 17 strong fleet to make calls there. The new terminal, which has received support from the Solent LEP and the government’s Getting Building Fund, will have Shore Power connectivity – meaning that ships can plug in to shoreside power, reducing emissions.

Antonio Paradiso, managing director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “Over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market. We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which led to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the Port of Southampton, bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK and Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.

“MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long-term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that. In 2017 we invested in a new office in the UK, we then focused on growing our teams and putting the right expertise in place to ensure we can provide the best possible support to our passengers and our travel agent partners, and now we are really proud to be further investing in the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy in having a home for our ships here in the UK.”

The line has further enhanced the itineraries available from Southampton, with two 14-night sailings to the Mediterranean departing in July and August calling at ports including Malaga, Lisbon and Monte Carlo, weekend mini-sailings to Northern Europe and seven-night cruises to the Norwegian fjords.

Paradiso added: “We have seen good demand for our ex-UK sailings for 2021, despite the difficult circumstances, and are sure this demand will continue into 2021 as we see more travel corridors open up and guests start to feel more confident in booking holidays.

MSC Magnifica ex-UK in 2021 presents a great opportunity for travel agents looking for new and different ex-UK itineraries for their guests. With port intensive itineraries, Saturday departures and the onboard experience offering the Best of British enhancements that were so popular during the 2018 season, there are many reasons MSC Magnifica provides a great sales opportunity for our travel partners.”

To find out more information about sailing from the UK with MSC Cruises visit msccruises.co.uk or speak to your travel agent.

Interview

“Everything is taken care of”: Celebrity goes all-inclusive

The line aims to simplify the luxury cruise experience with its new Always Included concept


Celebrity Cruises will now include wi-fi, drinks and tips under its new Always Included concept, which it says will simplify the luxury cruise experience.

“Everything we do at Celebrity is driven by the desire to redefine what today’s luxury looks and feels like, with experiences modern travellers want. With the launch of our Edge Series ships, Celebrity Edge and her brand-new sister ship Celebrity Apex, we tapped into a powerful ‘new luxury’ culture – relevant, relaxed, design-focused and inclusive,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises.

“Today, nothing is more luxurious than when things are extra simple and extra special. We wanted to bring that big wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life for our guests.”

“After this challenging year, ease and peace of mind have become even more invaluable commodities,” said Peter Giorgi, vice president and chief marketing officer of Celebrity Cruises.

“People want to spend more time being inspired, not getting lost in a myriad of booking options. Our new Always Included approach makes the purchase process simple and incredible – one decision and the wonder of a Celebrity cruise awaits.”

Always Included includes: unlimited drinks (classic cocktails, wines by the glass, beer, sodas, speciality coffees and teas, juices and bottled water); wi-fi and daily gratuities. Celebrity is also offering the option to upgrade to one of two packages: Elevate, with unlimited premium drinks and shore excursions up to $200 per person, and Indulge, which includes the Elevate package and adds on unlimited streaming wi-fi and up to $200 per person in onboard credit.

All guests in The Retreat – Celebrity’s all-suite area – will receive the same amenities as the Indulge package at no additional charge.

Celebrity said that to support the launch of Always Included, it will introduce a range of training assets for travel partners, such as webinars, including an evening series for those working from home or with families. There will also be a toolkit available on Celebrity Central that will include a host of useful tools such as flyers, FAQs and videos, as well as personalised training and meetings delivered by sales team members.

The Celebrity Rewards programme will double current points when selling balcony accommodation and above through to the end of February.

News

Cancellations

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

A-Rosa

A-Rosa River Cruises has suspended all Rhine and Danube sailings suspended up to December 20, 2020. Its season has also ended on the Douro and in France.

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has suspended all cruises, with the exception of the chartered service on the Rhine that has been in operation since July. The company plans to resume voyages in 2021. 

Guests who were booked on a cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit, equal to 115 per cent of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways, or receiving a full monetary refund.

The future cruise credit is applicable on all European or Mekong River cruise sailings before December 31, 2022.

APT Touring

APT Touring has suspended cruises until February 28, 2021.

For anyone booked to travel in 2020, APT Touring has introduced its new Covid Flexible Booking Cover, which gives customers the option to change their booking free of charge and the flexibility to change their booking up to 100 days before departure.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways has suspended cruises until February 28, 2021, except for a limited number of festive cruises.

Azamara

Azamara has cancelled all sailings until April 30, 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has suspended cruises in North America until February 28, 2021.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival ValorCarnival Victory and Carnival Radiance are in dry dock and are not being listed as returning in 2021.

The launch date for Mardi Gras has been put back to April 24, 2021.

Carnival Splendor will not re-enter service until March 2, 2021, while Carnival Spirit will be operationally paused until June 2021. Both vessels are primarily based in Australia.

Carnival is giving guests who wish to move their booking to a later date a rebooking offer that combines a future cruise credit and either a $300 or $600 onboard credit. Guests have the option to receive a full refund.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has cancelled all sailings until April 30, 2021, including the May 1 transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Apex.

Europe and transatlantic cruises on Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Constellation will also be suspended from May until October 2021.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises has suspended all cruises until March 6, 2021.

For all named and paid individual guests impacted by this suspension, Celestyal Cruises is offering a future cruise credit (FCC) valued at 120 per cent of original booking value. Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to redeem their FCC against any of Celestyal Cruises’ itineraries through end of December 2022. To provide additional peace of mind, should guests choose not to redeem their FCC by end of December 2021, they will automatically receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal upon the voucher’s expiration. Celestyal Cruises will automatically send the FCC voucher directly to guests or their travel agents, so there will be no need to call the contact centre other than to rebook.

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope resumed river cruise services on the Rhône and the Danube and with its ocean ship in July. However, as a result of recent lockdowns across Europe, the line has suspended all sailings until early 2021.

In a statement the line said: “Customers affected by cancellations can rebook their cruise or receive a refund credit note valid for 18 months from the date of issue, which can be redeemed against bookings made before December 15, 2021, on any cruise subject to availability.”

Crystal

Crystal has cancelled all ocean, river and yacht sailings until the end of 2020. Sailings on Crystal Esprit are cancelled until March 14, 2021; Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity until March 25, 2021. Crystal’s first scheduled river cruise departure is the March 26, 2021 voyage on Crystal Bach.

Crystal is providing all affected guests with credits equal to 125 per cent of the cruise fare paid on fully-paid reservations – along with a refund of port charges, taxes and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. For guests who have not fully paid, the credit will then be based on the deposited amount. Credits are valid on any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking through December 31, 2023.

For river sailings, guests can move their current 2020 reservation, including all payments made, to an equivalent sailing during the same time period in 2021, with price protection on the cruise fare and port charges – representing a significant value for them. If a guest chooses not to rollover their cruise to a 2021 river sailing, they may transfer their reservation to any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking up to December 31, 2023 at prevailing rates. All monies paid will be transferred to the new reservation.

Cunard

Cunard has suspended operations until March 25, 2021 for Queen Elizabeth; April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has suspended cruises until January 31, 2021.

Guests booked on affected sailings who have paid their reservation in full will be offered the choice of a future cruise credit (FCC) or a full refund. Guests who have not paid their reservations in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far. Affected guests and travel agents will receive an email from Disney Cruise Line outlining details and next steps.

Emerald Waterways/Scenic

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has suspended all itineraries until February 28, 2021.

The Scenic Group is offering booked guests a flexible future travel credit (FTC) valued at 110 per cent of monies deposited on any affected river and cruise booking and 100 per cent of monies deposited on any affected land tours. Guests will be offered a FTC that can be applied to any new or existing booking across the portfolio of brands through to June 30, 2023. The FTC is fully transferrable to another guest. Should a guest be unable to travel by June 30, 2023, they will be given a refund.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has replace Black Watch and Boudicca with Borealis and Bolette,newer acquisitions from Holland America Line.

Fred Olsen has currently suspended its sailings as follows: Balmoral (suspended to February 2, 2021); Borealis (April 23, 2021); Bolette (March 5, 2021); Braemar (April 1, 2021).

G Adventures

G Adventures has suspended all cruises until January 31, 2021, including the 2020-2021 Antarctic season aboard the G Expedition.

All UK travellers booked on a tour who do not wish to rebook their trip to a later date will receive a fully-protected refund credit note for 100 per cent of the amount paid for all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, as well as an additional 10 per cent travel credit as a gesture of goodwill, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension. If the traveller desires a cash refund this will be provided to them as soon as possible, and no later than January 31, 2021. G Adventures is offering a Book With Confidence policy, which lets them cancel and rebook their tour closer to the time of departure.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021. 

In July, the line announced that MaasdamVeendamRotterdam and Amsterdam would leave the fleet this year. Most cruises aboard these ships have been cancelled. The 2021 Grand Voyage has been cancelled and moved to 2022, where it will operate on board ZaandamRotterdam’s Grand Africa Voyage in October 2021 will now take place aboard Zaandam on the same dates.

Guests who have paid in full will receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit of the base fare paid. Those who have not paid in full will receive a future cruise credit double the amount of the deposit paid for the cruise.

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten has resumed coastal sailings in Norway, but expedition sailings have been postponed.

Voyages to Antarctica are cancelled until March 2021. Expedition itineraries aboard MS Fram, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Roald Amundsen are cancelled until May 2021. Expedition sailings on MS Trollfjord are cancelled indefinitely.

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has cancelled all sailings mid-February, 2021.

All customers whose bookings are impacted by the changes will receive a refund credit and up to 10 per cent incentive of the total value of their booking, or they can request a cash refund via an online form on the Tui website. 

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has suspended cruise operations until March 31, 2021 for its Caribbean voyages from North America. The line restarted limited cruises aboard MSC Grandiosa, but cruises for non-Schengen countries are cancelled until March 20, 2021. It is due to restart in Japan in April 2021.

MSC Cruises UK & Ireland is offering guests affected by the cancellations a future cruise credit of 125 per cent to be used on a future cruise through to the end of 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended operations until March  31, 2021.

Passengers booked on voyages up to October 31, 2021 can cancel up to 15 days in advance without penalty.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has cancelled all cruises until April 2021.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises has suspended sailings until March 6, 2021.

Ponant

Ponant has suspended all cruises up to April 2021.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has cancelled sailings until May 14, 2021. Voyages longer than eight days calling at a US port have been cancelled until November 1, 2021. Cruises to Japan are cancelled until June 25, 2021. Cruises in and out of Australia and New Zealand are cancelled until May, 2021.

Additionally, Princess has cancelled its 2021 world cruise voyages aboard Island Princess and Pacific Princess, including all related sub-segments. The world cruise aboard Sea Princess that is scheduled to depart in late-May, early-June is still going ahead at this time.

Sun Princess and Sea Princess have left the fleet and all future sailings on both ships have also been cancelled.

Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages who have paid Princess in full will have the option to receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25 per cent of the cruise fare.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has suspended its global cruise operations until March 31, 2021.

Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel has cancelled all cruises until March 26, 2021.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has cancelled all sailings until April 30, 2021, excluding sailings from Singapore on Quantum of the Seas.

Saga

Saga has cancelled all cruises on the new Spirit of Adventure until May 3, 2021 and on Spirit of Discovery until April.

Seabourn

Seabourn has paused global operations until 2021, with Seabourn Encore cancelled until May 28, 2021; Seabourn Ovation until April 18, 2021; Seabourn Quest until November 6, 2021 for voyages longer than seven days and calling at a US port; Seabourn Sojourn until May 24, 2021, including the 2021 World Cruise; Seabourn Odyssey until November 5, 2021, apart from seven-day Alaska/British Columbia and Pacific Coast sailings.

In addition, the line has announced a further delay to its new purpose-built expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture, until December 2021.

Guests with impacted cruises will receive a future cruise credit. If they’ve paid in full they will receive 125 per cent credit of the cruise base fare. If a deposit has been paid guests will receive 125 per cent of the deposit paid, plus $300 on board credit per suite.

Silversea

Silversea has suspended operations until April 1, 2021.

Titan

Titan has suspended all tour and cruise departures until January 31, 2021.

Uniworld

Uniworld has suspended all river cruises until March 2021.

Viking Cruises

Viking has suspended all ocean and river cruises until March 31, 2021.

For passengers booked on one of the cancelled sailings, Viking is offering future cruise credit (FCC) of 125 percent of the fare paid or a refund equal to the amount paid. Passengers have 24 months to use their FCC. If passengers opting for FCC are then unable to use their voucher, Viking will automatically send a refund equal to the original amount paid.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has postponed the inaugural season of its first ship Scarlet Lady until May 9, 2021 and for its second ship, Valiant Lady, until November 14, 2021.

Those booked on a cruise that has been cancelled can opt for 200 per cent in future cruise credit (FCC) which can be applied to another sailing, up to $500 in onboard credit, or 100 per cent refund, plus 25 per cent FCC on the value paid to use for a future booking. Bookings made prior to December 10, 2021 for sailings in 2021 and 2022 will be eligible for cancellation up to 48 hours in advance, with a full credit given.

Windstar

Windstar has suspended all cruise operations until May 2021. Wind Spirit will resume sailing on May 6, 2021; Star Breeze on May 15, 2021, Star Legend on May 1, 2021; Wind Star on May 22, 2021; Wind Surf on May 9, 2021; and Star Pride on July 14, 2021.

Guests on cancelled cruises receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit. In addition, Windstar has launched a new Travel Assurance Booking Policy, which is applicable to new and existing cruises departing until December 31, 2021. Travellers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is for cruise fares only.

News

Majority of luxury guests plan a cruise next year

New research by Mundy Cruising also reveals that the majority will wait until they have been vaccinated before travelling


Research by Mundy Cruising has revealed that 81 per cent of luxury cruise passengers plan on taking a cruise next year, although the majority will wait until they have been vaccinated first.

The findings were the first to be gleaned from Mundy’s new Cruise Expert Panel, which was launched to coincide with the cruise agency’s 50th anniversary.

Just under half (47 per cent) of the survey respondents said that they would only cruise once they had been vaccinated and the majority of the population had been vaccinated, while a further 39 per cent said they would cruise once they had been vaccinated, even if the majority of the population had not.

“Our most recent survey has given us a lot of food for thought,” said Edwina Lonsdale, Mundy Cruising managing director, “but the overriding sentiment is one of cautious optimism regarding the resumption of cruising in 2021. Mundy clients are a well-travelled, well-informed and pragmatic bunch, so it’s no surprise to us that their responses are grounded in a realistic appraisal of where things stand.

“We know that a vaccine will take time to roll out, which is why the cruise lines are pressing ahead with their detailed and exhaustive plans to ensure that cruising post-Covid is safer than ever. Nevertheless, the recent flurry of good news has clearly given our clients a much-needed boost, with bookings significantly up since the vaccine announcements from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and now Oxford-AstraZeneca.”

The results also revealed that nine per cent of respondents would go on a cruise regardless of a vaccine, while three per cent said they would go on a cruise without being vaccinated, provided the majority of the population had. The survey also showed that most guests (51 per cent) would prefer to sail on a ship carrying between 50 and 500 guests, compared to 37 per cent before the pandemic.

The amount favouring a ship carrying 1,000 guests or more dropped from 15 per cent to just seven per cent.

Comment

Geoff Ridgeon, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

The head of sales at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines shares his predictions for the ex-UK market in 2021 


This has been a strange and challenging year for us all. I don’t think any of us could have predicted quite how it would unfold and the impact it would have on our lives. But what it has done is make us all stop and think about the things that are really important to us, and the things that we are missing the most.

For months we have been cooped up indoors, whether we’ve been working from home, in various elements of lockdown or shielding for our own health or that of our loved ones. And now, more than ever, people are thinking about their next holiday and the kind of experiences they are looking for.

There is a strong sales opportunity in ex-UK cruising as we return to some form of normality next year. Customers will come to you with a whole host of questions amid their excitement to travel again. Some will want to stay in the UK. Some may want to venture further afield, to feel that European sunshine, or embark on a short city break. Others will want to feel the real and the raw and really immerse themselves in something different and adventurous. And there are ex-UK cruises that tick all of these boxes.

The added bonus with ex-UK cruises is they offer all of these opportunities without the worry and hassle of airports at either destination, and your customers’ holiday can start as soon as they step on the ship. At Fred Olsen, the majority of our cruises are ex-UK, and we have six regional departure ports in Southampton, Dover, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Rosyth in Edinburgh, which means guests are always within a few hours of a port.

What cruising also does is allow people to visit multiple destinations all in one trip, while bringing reassurance that at the end of each day they can return to their ship, enjoy a delicious dinner and some evening entertainment in a comfortable and familiar environment rather than having to negotiate trains, buses or other modes of transport to reach their next destination.

There is such a demand for travel right now, and we are seeing that reflected in our bookings. What we are also seeing is that seasoned travellers who perhaps previously would go abroad three or four times a year are looking at destinations that are right on their doorstep in a whole new light. There are places in the UK just waiting to be explored that previously had been overlooked. Visiting them by cruise adds that extra sense of adventure, that real sense of going on holiday.

It also gives guests the option to enjoy a holiday without needing to leave the ship at all if they choose. There will be those who aren’t quite ready to explore again yet, but would be quite happy enjoying some time away with a good book and the many activities that a cruise brings on board. For some, they simply want a change of scenery and a break away from the homes they have spent so much time in this year. Of course, there are many scenic cruises, such as sailings into the heart of the Norwegian fjords, which are completely designed around the spectacular scenery that guests will witness straight from the ship.

While 2021 will be exciting for all cruise lines, as we get our ships back into service and start cruising again, it will be extra exciting for us as we will be doing so with our new-look fleet, with our new flagship Bolette and sister ship Borealis a part of the family. Like the rest of our ships, these will be providing ex-UK itineraries from Dover, Southampton and Liverpool, and with so many people keen to get on board and explore them for themselves they bring another unique sales opportunity, too.

So when your customers come to you looking for advice on their holidays for 2021, especially if they haven’t considered a cruise, just remind them of all the incredible things that we as an industry have to offer with our ex-UK cruises. There really is a wealth of opportunity. Here’s to happier travels in 2021.

News

Cruise could be given the green light to restart in January

Reports that domestic cruises could begin in the new year, followed by a phased restart


The cruise industry could be given the green light to restart as early as January, under plans being discussed by ministers.

The Foreign Office issued blanket advice against all cruise ship travel back in July.

According to The Daily Mail, ministers initially discussed industry claims that ships could quickly be made safe. However, following work on improved medical procedures, discussions about a phased restart for the industry are now said to be at an advanced stage.

More: Sign up to our Cruise Digest newsletter
More: Read our cruise line cancellations list

The phased restart could mean cruise lines start operating domestic cruises around the UK from January. If these trials are successful, a wider lifting of the ban will be introduced over the following months. However, reports said that operators would be responsible for repatriating guests in the event of an outbreak on board.

A Whitehall source was quoted as saying: “We are working on a framework to allow the industry to reopen safely early in the new year.

“That will allow cruises to restart and enable bookings to take place to start bringing money into the industry again.

“We need to be sure that ships have the right infection control measures in place, the right testing regime and the right facilities to allow them to contain an outbreak.

“In terms of foreign cruises we will need an acceptance that operators have to take responsibility for repatriating their passengers.”

News

P&O Cruises switches trade focus as Iona joins

The line looks towards its Shine Rewards Club, social media and webinars as it launches its 2022 programme


P&O Cruises has changed the way it works with the trade in the wake of Covid-19.

During a trade media session earlier this month, Alex Delamere-White, vice president sales & marketing, said that the new lockdown measures currently in force in England were an “unneeded distraction to agents who are doing a remarkable job under almost impossible circumstances”.

The cruise line has decreased its on-the-road sales team, but increased the number of people working on the Shine Rewards Club, social media, webinars and trade communications. The account management team has remained largely unchanged. Delamere-White added that “none of that should be a reflection of the importance of the trade”.

He explained that the way the company engaged with the trade was changing and that there would be more ‘one-to-many’ forms of communication, such as online training sessions. The company’s Summer 2022 webinar currently has 500 sign-ups, five times the usual number.

More: Sign up to our Cruise Digest newsletter
More: Read our cruise line cancellations list

However, he added that the new 2022 programme could not be “more perfectly timed”, with agents given the chance to earn double Shine points from November 9 until November 22. All summer 2022 holidays on sale from Wednesday, November 11.

The campaign messaging would give agents “something to support and get behind, given everything they’ve been through and continue to go through as a result of Covid”.

Delamere-White confirmed that the 2022 programme had been brought forward as a result of demand P&O was seeing in the market and to give those customers holding future cruise credits a chance to book.

News

Princess Cruises’ Alaska programme goes on sale

Six ships, including the new Discovery Princess, will sail 12 itineraries between May and September 2022


Princess Cruises’ 2022 Alaska cruises and tours programme will go on sale from December 16, 2020.

The programme features six ships, including the newest addition to the line’s fleet, Discovery Princess. Guests can choose from 12 cruise itineraries, plus 25 tour options, combining a cruise and land tour visiting the Denali National Park.

Four West Coast home ports – Seattle, Vancouver, Anchorage (Whittier) and San Francisco – are included in the May to September 2022 season.

The 3,660-guest Discovery Princess will mark its inaugural season as the youngest ship in Alaska departing from Seattle on a seven-day Inside Passage itinerary, alongside Emerald Princess.

Majestic Princess will debut along with Sapphire Princess and Grand Princess sailing the seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary, which features two glacier viewing experiences on every cruise including Glacier Bay National Park.

Ruby Princess will offer 10-day Inside Passage cruises out of San Francisco, featuring the added bonus of a sailaway under the Golden Gate Bridge.

All six ships sailing to Alaska in 2022 are Medallion Class-enabled.

Interview

Interview: Port of Seattle

Ron Peck, director of tourism development, tells us about plans for the major Alaskan gateway


A cruise to Alaska is on many people’s bucket lists. With the 2020 season cancelled, there is likely to be even more demand for 2021. For the Port of Seattle, which has made itself a major Alaskan gateway over the last few years, that’s big news.

The Alaska season, which lasts roughly from April until October, has added emphasis for Seattle because of Seattle International Airport’s new arrivals facility – which includes a scenic walkway right over taxiing aircraft – and increased capacity. Anyone who has flown into Seattle will know what a big deal that is. The Port of Seattle – which uniquely comprises the airport and the cruise terminal – is also on a mission to get more of its cruise passengers to stay for longer, either before embarking or after their cruise. Whether that’s a stay in Seattle or a journey further out into Washington State, there is a huge amount to see and discover, much of which has been added to its trade-friendly Cruise & Stay Guide.

We spoke with Ron Peck, director of tourism development at the Port of Seattle, to find out more.

Cruise Adviser: Why did you hold the event?
Ron Peck: We wanted to talk about what great places Seattle and Washington State are to come and visit. But, just as importantly, that we as a destination are taking the right measures so that people who are travelling internationally can feel comfortable coming. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the brand new international arrivals facility that’s being built. Brits really view travelling as being essential and this year so many people have missed taking their big holiday. Next year is a prime opportunity for them to take a bucket list holiday, and an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle is absolutely a bucket list holiday.

Why is visiting Seattle or Washington State safe? What measures are you putting in place?
We are a fantastic destination but, just as importantly, we’ve got the right protocols and safety measures in place, such as our FlyHealthy@SEA programme. Research says that an aircraft is one of the safest indoor places to be right now, and on the ground we are working closely with our partners to ensure that the right measures are put in place and clearly communicated to both locals and visitors. I would expect travel to be back by the second half of 2021.

Can we talk a bit about the new facility at the airport?
Prior to Covid, we were the eighth largest airport in the United States and, frankly, we were putting five pounds of tuna in a two pound tin. The new facility will make the entire experience much smoother for travellers. The great thing about this facility is that it’s got one of the longest elevated bridges that runs over the taxiway, with great views of Mount Rainier. We believe that we should be able to have it open and operating by sometime the middle of the year.

What can you say right now that that puts people at ease in terms of safety?
Well, I think I think one of the unique things about the Port of Seattle is that we’re both an airport and a cruise terminal. You’ll see us continue to work with our cruise friends, just as we have done with our airline partners. All the major cruise lines in the United States have announced that there will be 100 per cent testing of Covid before you embark and disembark. And that’s just one small component. I would say over January and February those trials will take place, as part of the CDC’s Safe Sailing document. So we’re pretty excited about how we see Alaska shaping up as a destination.

Tell me a little bit more about the Cruise & Stay Guide?
There’s a lot of pent up demand and interest in returning to travel again. Our Cruise & Stay Guide is a way to help if you’re coming this far, and offer inspiration so that you don’t just take that cruise. Spend three to five days seeing the rest of this cool state that has so much to offer. We’re the smallest state west of the Rockies. But you name an activity and we do it – except for two things. We have four mountain ranges, a temperate rainforest National Park, two other national parks, the fifth fastest flowing river in the United States, the Columbia River. Huge agricultural, great wine and beer industry. Lots of wide open spaces where you won’t see other visitors for miles around. The only two things we don’t have here are Mickey Mouse ears and swamps. And you can go to Florida for that.

See SeattleCruiseAlaska.co.uk for more

News

Clia lines pause sailings in US as safety measures are rolled out

Operations will be suspended until December 31 to allow for implementations of Covid-19 safety measures


The Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) has announced that its members will maintain the ongoing voluntary suspension of cruise operations in the US until December 31, 2020.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US health body, changed its ‘no sail’ cruise order to a ‘conditional sailing order’.

But Clia has now said that its members will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address Covid-19 safety with the guidance of outside public health experts and the CDC.

The announcement followed a spate of cruise companies – including Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean – suspending sailings until 2021.

The association issued the following statement on behalf of its members:

As we continue to plan for a gradual and highly-controlled return of cruise operations in the US, Clia members are committed to implementing stringent measures to address Covid-19 safety, including 100 per cent testing of passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities and trial sailings, among many others. We share a common goal with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect public health, which has been affirmed and reaffirmed consistently throughout the industry’s response to the global pandemic. As we work to operationalise a path forward, our members have agreed to extend our existing suspension of US operations through December 31. This action will provide additional time to align the industry’s extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase Covid-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew. We recognise the devastating impact that the pandemic continues to have on the 421,000 Americans whose livelihoods are connected directly to cruise operations. We will work with urgency to advance a responsible return to cruising while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health.

“The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members,” the CDC said. It has been reported that initial cruises will not have paying passengers on board, to prove to the authorities that they can be run safely.

More: Sign up to our Cruise Digest newsletter
More: Read our cruise line cancellations list

“CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers. Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate Covid-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates Covid-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and US communities.

“These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate Covid-risk. CDC will issue additional orders as needed that will be published in the Federal Register and technical instructions that will be subsequently posted on CDC’s website.”

In the UK, Saga has postponed Spirit of Discovery’s return to service until April 2021, with Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural cruise now rescheduled for May 4, 2021.

Comment

“A vital first step in the process of sailing again”

Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK & Ireland, on the safety measures the industry is taking as it gets ready to resume sailing


The Covid-19 crisis has presented the world with new challenges unprecedented in scale, affecting every setting where people come together and enjoy shared experiences, including restaurants, hotels, theatres and, yes, cruise ships.

Since the voluntary suspension of operations, Clia members have been dedicating time and resources to further strengthening the already strict health protocols our industry has in place.

In October, the cruise industry published new framework documents for cruise ship operators to implement new measures with enhanced public health protection. The framework was the culmination of months of collaboration between cruise operators, industry partners, health experts and the UK government.

This will help inform the restart of the cruise industry when the time is right and public health conditions allow. There is currently no restart date for cruise in the UK, but the framework is a vital first step in the process to get cruises sailing again when government guidance changes. The rigour and detailed planning that has gone into these framework documents demonstrates the commitment of the cruise industry to caring for public health and upholding robust and uniform safety measures.

Mandatory testing
Globally, Clia is working with its members to establish an industry-wide Covid-19 policy for its ocean-going cruise line members that will be informed by the guidance and recommendations of global health authorities and outside experts in health and science.

In October, Clia announced a travel industry first as its ocean cruise line members worldwide agreed to conduct 100 per cent testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons — with a negative test required for any embarkation.

Clia ocean-going cruise lines are responsible for introducing the testing requirement, and testing methods may vary based on emerging technology and availability of different testing methods at the time. A negative test is required prior to boarding for both passengers and crew, and crew must undergo additional precautionary measures, including obtaining negative test results prior to leaving their homes, prior to embarkation, upon conclusion of a minimum seven-day quarantine, and at least once monthly.

The cruise industry is taking a multi-layered approach to the measures and protocols, demonstrating our commitment to making the health, safety and wellbeing of passengers, crew and the communities we visit our top priority.

On course for the future
With limited resumption now underway in Europe and other parts of the world, these sailings give us confidence that we are on the right course. While some measures are a global requirement, there will also be additional protocols in place that are specific to the region in which the ship is sailing and/or the individual cruise line. As such, passengers who are booked on upcoming itineraries are encouraged to consult with their travel advisors to understand the policies of the individual cruise lines with which they plan to sail.

As we look towards the future, health and safety will remain at the heart of everything we do, and while these new measures mean cruises will be slightly different than what we are used to, what will not change is the fantastic service provided by crew and the unique experiences that only a cruise holiday can provide. By navigating with courage, confidence and purpose, we can sail forward together to help make the future of cruise stronger and better than ever – and the best way to experience the world. Clia travel agents can keep up to date with the latest information regarding resumption and protocols via cruising.org.

Read our feature about safety protocols in this issue

News

Viking develops testing lab at sea in industry first

The first onboard facility has been installed on Viking Star and it will be demonstrated in Oslo this month


Viking has announced that it has completed the installation of the first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea.

The new onboard facility enables the cruise line to conduct PCR testing of all crew members and guests with a non-invasive saliva test. The laboratory has enough capacity for daily testing of every crew member and guest.

The first laboratory has been installed on Viking Star, one of the company’s 930-guest ocean vessels. The line said it will undergo a series of extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective.

Matt Grimes, vice president of maritime operations for Viking, said: “It moves us one step closer to operating cruises again, without compromising the safety of our guests and crew. The recently announced CDC guidelines are clearly aligned with our public health research and we welcome the agency’s push toward testing, as we believe this is the only way to safely operate. In our view, continuous PCR testing, along with our extensive onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”

More: Sign up to our Cruise Digest newsletter
More: Read our cruise line cancellations list

Viking said it will be demonstrating the PCR laboratory, as well as new design and operating procedures, when the Viking Star comes to Oslo, Norway in mid-November.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US health body, has changed its ‘no sail’ cruise order to a ‘conditional sailing order’.

The move means that, in theory, cruises are no longer banned in the United States. However, cruise lines will need to work with the CDC before their ships can begin sailing.

“The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members,” the CDC said. It has been reported that initial cruises will not have paying passengers on board, to prove to the authorities that they can be run safely.

Last month, Clia ocean cruise line members worldwide – of which Viking is not a member – agreed to conduct 100 per cent testing of guests and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons.

The association said that a negative test was required for any embarkation, noting that it is a travel industry first. A spokesperson said: “We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the wellbeing of the passengers, the crew and the communities we visit our top priority.”

Clia and the UK Chamber of Shipping also created a new framework for cruise ship operators to begin sailing again safely. The new documents have been shared with the UK government, which has currently put no date on a restart for the cruise industry.

Bob Sanguinetti, the UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive, said: “This new framework gives the government, passengers, crew and operators the confidence that the very latest science and medical advice has been included in the industry’s planning process. We are not talking about restarting the sector tomorrow, but it is a vital first step in the process to get cruises sailing again when conditions allow and government guidance changes.” 

News

MSC cancels Magnifica sailings following restrictions

New restrictions in France and Germany prompt the decision, but MSC Grandiosa’s Western Med intineraries are extended


MSC Cruises has cancelled all sailings on MSC Magnifica from November 8 until December 18, as well as its 2021 World Cruise, as a result of the new restrictions in France and Germany.

The two countries represent key source markets for the ship’s 10-night voyages.

However, MSC Grandiosa is set to continue its seven-night sailings in the Western Mediterranean, with the company extending its sailings there until March 27, 2021.

MSC has also updated its safety protocols, which will now include testing guests mid-way through their cruise, as well as before boarding. All crew will be tested weekly, up from twice-a-month. Cleaning will be increased, while the time definition of ‘close contact’ will also be tightened from 15 to 10 minutes.

For more information about MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocols visit here: msccruises.co.uk/health-safety

News

Cancellations Copy

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

A-Rosa

A-Rosa River Cruises has suspended all Rhine and Danube sailings suspended up to December 20, 2020. Its season has also ended on the Douro and in France.

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has suspended all cruises, with the exception of the chartered service on the Rhine that has been in operation since July. The company plans to resume voyages in 2021. 

Guests who were booked on a cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit, equal to 115 per cent of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways, or receiving a full monetary refund.

The future cruise credit is applicable on all European or Mekong River cruise sailings before December 31, 2022.

APT Touring

APT Touring has suspended cruises until February 28, 2021.

For anyone booked to travel in 2020, APT Touring has introduced its new Covid Flexible Booking Cover, which gives customers the option to change their booking free of charge and the flexibility to change their booking up to 100 days before departure.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways has suspended cruises until February 28, 2021, except for a limited number of festive cruises.

Azamara

Azamara has cancelled all sailings until spring 2021. Azamara Quest returns to service on March 20, 2021; Azamara Journey on April 9, 2021; Azamara Pursuit on May 9, 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has suspended cruises in North America until February 28, 2021.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival ValorCarnival Victory and Carnival Radiance are in dry dock and are not being listed as returning in 2021.

The launch date for Mardi Gras has been put back to April 24, 2021.

Carnival Splendor will not re-enter service until March 2, 2021, while Carnival Spirit will be operationally paused until June 2021. Both vessels are primarily based in Australia.

Carnival is giving guests who wish to move their booking to a later date a rebooking offer that combines a future cruise credit and either a $300 or $600 onboard credit. Guests have the option to receive a full refund.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has canceled all sailings until February 28, 2021.

All cruises in Asia, Australia and New Zealand are cancelled for the entire 2020-2021 cruise season, while South America sailings are also cancelled for the entire season, until April 7, 2021.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises has suspended all cruises until March 6, 2021.

For all named and paid individual guests impacted by this suspension, Celestyal Cruises is offering a future cruise credit (FCC) valued at 120 per cent of original booking value. Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to redeem their FCC against any of Celestyal Cruises’ itineraries through end of December 2022. To provide additional peace of mind, should guests choose not to redeem their FCC by end of December 2021, they will automatically receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal upon the voucher’s expiration. Celestyal Cruises will automatically send the FCC voucher directly to guests or their travel agents, so there will be no need to call the contact centre other than to rebook.

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope resumed river cruise services on the Rhône and the Danube and with its ocean ship in July. However, as a result of recent lockdowns across Europe, the line has suspended all sailings until early 2021.

In a statement the line said: “Customers affected by cancellations can rebook their cruise or receive a refund credit note valid for 18 months from the date of issue, which can be redeemed against bookings made before December 15, 2021, on any cruise subject to availability.”

Crystal

Crystal has cancelled all ocean, river and yacht sailings until the end of 2020. Sailings on Crystal Esprit are cancelled until March 14, 2021; Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity until March 25, 2021. Crystal’s first scheduled river cruise departure is the March 26, 2021 voyage on Crystal Bach.

Crystal is providing all affected guests with credits equal to 125 per cent of the cruise fare paid on fully-paid reservations – along with a refund of port charges, taxes and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. For guests who have not fully paid, the credit will then be based on the deposited amount. Credits are valid on any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking through December 31, 2023.

For river sailings, guests can move their current 2020 reservation, including all payments made, to an equivalent sailing during the same time period in 2021, with price protection on the cruise fare and port charges – representing a significant value for them. If a guest chooses not to rollover their cruise to a 2021 river sailing, they may transfer their reservation to any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking up to December 31, 2023 at prevailing rates. All monies paid will be transferred to the new reservation.

Cunard

Cunard has suspended operations until March 25, 2021 for Queen Elizabeth; April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has suspended cruises until January 31, 2021.

Guests booked on affected sailings who have paid their reservation in full will be offered the choice of a future cruise credit (FCC) or a full refund. Guests who have not paid their reservations in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far. Affected guests and travel agents will receive an email from Disney Cruise Line outlining details and next steps.

Emerald Waterways/Scenic

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has suspended all itineraries until February 28, 2021.

The Scenic Group is offering booked guests a flexible future travel credit (FTC) valued at 110 per cent of monies deposited on any affected river and cruise booking and 100 per cent of monies deposited on any affected land tours. Guests will be offered a FTC that can be applied to any new or existing booking across the portfolio of brands through to June 30, 2023. The FTC is fully transferrable to another guest. Should a guest be unable to travel by June 30, 2023, they will be given a refund.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has replace Black Watch and Boudicca with Borealis and Bolette,newer acquisitions from Holland America Line.

Fred Olsen has currently suspended its sailings as follows: Balmoral (suspended to February 2, 2021); Borealis (April 23, 2021); Bolette (March 5, 2021); Braemar (April 1, 2021).

G Adventures

G Adventures has suspended all cruises until January 31, 2021, including the 2020-2021 Antarctic season aboard the G Expedition.

All UK travellers booked on a tour who do not wish to rebook their trip to a later date will receive a fully-protected refund credit note for 100 per cent of the amount paid for all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, as well as an additional 10 per cent travel credit as a gesture of goodwill, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension. If the traveller desires a cash refund this will be provided to them as soon as possible, and no later than January 31, 2021. G Adventures is offering a Book With Confidence policy, which lets them cancel and rebook their tour closer to the time of departure.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021. 

In July, the line announced that MaasdamVeendamRotterdam and Amsterdam would leave the fleet this year. Most cruises aboard these ships have been cancelled. The 2021 Grand Voyage has been cancelled and moved to 2022, where it will operate on board ZaandamRotterdam’s Grand Africa Voyage in October 2021 will now take place aboard Zaandam on the same dates.

Guests who have paid in full will receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit of the base fare paid. Those who have not paid in full will receive a future cruise credit double the amount of the deposit paid for the cruise.

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten has cancelled expedition voyages until January 2021 and its entire 2020-21 Antarctic season. 

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has cancelled all sailings until January 2, 2021.

All customers whose bookings are impacted by the changes will receive a refund credit and up to 10 per cent incentive of the total value of their booking, or they can request a cash refund via an online form on the Tui website. 

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has suspended cruise operations until February 28, 2021 for its Caribbean voyages from North America. The line restarted limited cruises aboard MSC Grandiosa on August 16 from Genoa but has been forced to suspend operations until January 6, 2021 due to lockdowns in Italy. It is due to restart in Japan in April 2021.

MSC Cruises UK & Ireland is offering guests affected by the cancellations a future cruise credit of 125 per cent to be used on a future cruise through to the end of 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended operations until February 28, 2021. In addition, cruises on Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian Dawn have been canceled until March 2021.

Passengers booked on voyages up to October 31, 2021 can cancel up to 15 days in advance. Final payment for sailings until March 31, 2021 is now extended to 60 days prior to sailing, from the standard 120 days.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has cancelled all cruises until April 2021.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises has suspended sailings until March 6, 2021.

Ponant

Ponant restarted cruises in July for the French market, but has now suspended operations until the end of December 2020.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has cancelled sailings on most of its fleet until March 31, 2021, including voyages in Asia, the Caribbean, the California Coast, Hawaii, Mexico, the Panama Canal, South America, Antarctica, Japan, Tahiti and the South Pacific. Voyages longer than eight days calling at a US port have been cancelled until November 1, 2021.

Cruises in and out of Australia and New Zealand on Majestic PrincessRegal PrincessSapphire Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess are cancelled until May, 2021.

Additionally, Princess has cancelled its 2021 world cruise voyages aboard Island Princess and Pacific Princess.

Sun Princess and Sea Princess have left the fleet and all future sailings on both ships have also been cancelled.

Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages who have paid Princess in full will have the option to receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25 per cent of the cruise fare.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has suspended its global cruise operations until March 31, 2021.

Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel has cancelled all cruises until further notice.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has cancelled all sailings until February 28, 2021, excluding sailings from Singapore on Quantum of the Seas, and Spectrum of the Seas from China.

Voyages to Australia and New Zealand are suspended until May 1, 2021.

Saga

Saga has cancelled all cruises on the new Spirit of Adventure until May 3, 2021 and on Spirit of Discovery until April.

Seabourn

Seabourn has paused global operations until 2021, with Seabourn Encore cancelled until May 28, 2021; Seabourn Ovation until April 18, 2021; Seabourn Quest until November 6, 2021 for voyages longer than seven days and calling at a US port; Seabourn Sojourn until May 24, 2021, including the 2021 World Cruise; Seabourn Odyssey until November 5, 2021, apart from seven-day Alaska/British Columbia and Pacific Coast sailings.

In addition, the line has announced a further delay to its new purpose-built expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture, until December 2021.

Guests with impacted cruises will receive a future cruise credit. If they’ve paid in full they will receive 125 per cent credit of the cruise base fare. If a deposit has been paid guests will receive 125 per cent of the deposit paid, plus $300 on board credit per suite.

Silversea

Silversea has suspended sailings of its fleet until the following dates: Silver Cloud (May 5, 2021); Silver Wind (June 14, 2021); Silver Shadow (April 28); Silver Spirit (April 20, 2021); Silver Muse (May 20, 2021); Silver Whisper (June 20, 2020); Silver Explorer (June 24, 2021); Silver Moon (April 1, 2021); Silver Dawn (November 9, 2021); Silver Origin (February 6, 2021).

Titan

Titan has suspended all tour and cruise departures until January 31, 2021.

Uniworld

Uniworld has suspended all river cruises until January 2021.

Viking Cruises

Viking has suspended all ocean and river cruises until January 31, 2021.

For passengers booked on one of the cancelled sailings, Viking is offering future cruise credit (FCC) of 125 percent of the fare paid or a refund equal to the amount paid. Passengers have 24 months to use their FCC. If passengers opting for FCC are then unable to use their voucher, Viking will automatically send a refund equal to the original amount paid.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has postponed the inaugural season of its first ship Scarlet Lady until January 3, 2021.

Those booked on a cruise that has been cancelled can opt for 200 per cent in future cruise credit (FCC) which can be applied to another sailing, up to $500 in onboard credit, or 100 per cent refund, plus 25 per cent FCC on the value paid to use for a future booking. Bookings made prior to December 10, 2021 for sailings in 2021 and 2022 will be eligible for cancellation up to 48 hours in advance, with a full credit given.

Windstar

Windstar has suspended all cruise operations until spring 2021. Wind Spirit will resume sailing on March 25, 2021; Star Breeze on March 27, 2021, Star Legend on April 27, 2021; Wind Star on April 13, 2021; Wind Surf on April 24, 2021; and Star Pride on July 6, 2021.

Guests on cancelled cruises receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit. In addition, Windstar has launched a new Travel Assurance Booking Policy, which is applicable to new and existing cruises departing until December 31, 2021. Travellers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is for cruise fares only.

Comment

New developments in the cruise sector

By Tony Roberts, vice president, Princess Cruises UK & Europe and Clia UK & Ireland chair


The health and safety of guests, crew and the communities we visit has always been the number one priority for cruise lines. In fact, no other travel sector has anything near the level of screening protocols and stringent health measures that have been standard in the cruise industry for many years.

Nevertheless, the current global health crisis that our world is facing has meant that cruise lines have had to take the already rigorous protocols we have in place and further enhance them, without compromising on guest experience.

Because of this, in 2021, alongside the implementation of new health and safety measures, we will start to see what the ‘future of cruise’ looks like, as lines take advantage of new technologies to change certain traditional aspects of a cruise holiday – once seen as the ‘norm’ – for the better.

For example, Princess is transforming embarkation day by staggering boarding and completely reinventing the traditional muster drill. By leveraging the Princess OceanMedallion technology, guests can select their preferred time to arrive at the port and, once onboard, can watch the important safety training video on their mobile device or stateroom TV, simply verifying their designated muster station with a quick and contactless check-in at their convenience anytime between boarding and sail away.

What awaits guests

Travel agents and guests will already be well aware that, when ships resume sailing, additional protocols will be in place across the entire sector. For Princess, the OceanMedallion wearable technology, which was designed to create seamless experiences for our guests, now lends itself well to travelling in a socially distanced world. We recently announced that, upon return to service in 2021, the Princess Cruises global fleet will feature the ‘MedallionClass Experience’, which means that our guests will be able to enjoy what we are calling a ‘Truly Touchless’ cruise holiday. From the aforementioned staggered boarding and transformed safety training, to contactless payments, keyless stateroom entry and the ability to order food and drink to anywhere on the ship, this innovative technology means that our guests can continue to enjoy next-level service while staying safe at sea.

A reflection on the current moment

Over the past year, cruise lines have worked tirelessly with global health leaders and medical experts to devise and implement best practices for when sailings resume.

However, to be able to fully prepare for a return to service, the UK Foreign Office needs to remove its outdated travel advice on ocean cruising. To this end, Clia is continuing to play a key role in working with the UK government to secure this change and help inform cruise restart.

While news of the UK becoming the first country to kick off a mass vaccination programme is encouraging, the key to the safe resumption of operations is this continued collaboration between cruise lines, medical experts, national authorities and local ports.

We are now looking forward to the government removing its travel guidance and setting a timeline to safely start cruises, so agents and guest alike can feel confident that there is a path back to cruising in 2021.

Many will be relieved that 2020 is behind us. It is now time for us to focus on the future and to the day when cruise lines can get back to what they do best – providing guests with an extraordinary service and unrivalled experience.

Comment

The impact on the older generation

By Iain Powell, head of trade sales and third party cruise, Saga


When we sat down in our planning sessions in late 2019, none of us could have imagined the challenges which lay ahead for the world in the coming year. So, as I now sit here, thinking about 2021, I’m reluctant to jump in with the now common phrases of ‘green shoots’ or ‘new norm’; because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what lays ahead.  That said, despite the challenges we must first overcome, there are many reasons to feel positive, optimistic and even excited.

While the pandemic has deeply affected us all, I think it’s fair to say the older generation found their day-to-day lives most significantly impacted. Being among the most at risk, this generation who encapsulate a ‘keep calm and carry on’ spirit was suddenly told they couldn’t just ‘carry on’.

Millions of older people in the UK were forced to shield and isolate, sometimes even when the rest of us could experience some level of normality and human interaction. Many have battled with loneliness and isolation unlike anything they have experienced before. A recent study by Age UK highlighted the issue, citing that 47 per cent of respondents (all over 65) reported struggling with loneliness in 2020; and just under two thirds of people reported feeling a sense of time lost or wasted during the pandemic.

Making up for lost time
At Saga, we’ve spent even more time than usual speaking to our customers.  The overwhelming sentiment we take from these conversations is very similar to that of the Age UK research – our customers feel as though they have lost precious time, time set aside for travelling. Lengthy periods spent indoors have built resentment and frustration around cancelled plans and missed opportunities. This time spent reflecting has also provided space for thought, planning and daydreaming about future travel plans. Those trips they never got to take, as well as those destinations they have always wanted to visit.

Trust and confidence are key
The cruise industry was hit particularly hard in the early stages of the virus, starting with the extensive and often unbalanced coverage of outbreaks on cruise ships. The media storm which followed those early cases whipped up a flurry of panic and fear around cruises. Interestingly, older stalwart cruisers seemed less impacted by this coverage, with many knowing that cruise ship travel is in fact one of the most controlled, safe and regulated forms of travel. Therefore, while we all have a job to do in restoring consumer confidence around cruising, that task may be slightly easier in the ‘repeaters’ from the older generation, as opposed to a younger ‘new to cruise’ group, who will likely require more convincing.

We also now know that the older generation of travellers will be among the first to be vaccinated, meaning the opportunity to travel will likely present itself to them before anyone else. Being vaccinated will replace a fear of travel with the confidence to explore. We need the government and FCDO to support this returning confidence with sound, scientifically backed and justifiable guidance. Trust and confidence are key for older travellers.

Looking ahead
While we can be very positive and hopeful about the year ahead, we must also remain realistic about the hurdles ahead of us.

The first half of 2021 will still be impacted by suspensions and cancellations and it’s likely that older travellers won’t want to do so until they have been vaccinated, which could take a few months.  It’ll then still take time for confidence to build; and I’ll say it again, we need the government’s support with achieving this.

That said, let’s not end on a negative note. New starts are good things. We all have the opportunity to reset, rethink and work in different ways. The ‘grey pound’ will be more valuable than ever and, when they can get back travelling, I’m very confident they will do so in their droves.  

Comment

The draw of the small ship

By Joseph Grimley, director of trade sales, Scenic and Emerald Cruises


Thinking back to this time last year, I doubt any of us expected the year to pan out how it has done; however as we look ahead we are starting to see some positive changes. Over the past couple of months, we have launched a new season for Scenic Eclipse, our ultra-luxury ocean yacht, and our 2022 European river cruises went on sale earlier than ever; all of which have been met with ever-increasing interest.

I am confident about the coming months; bookings are steadily picking up with plenty of pent-up demand. We are finding more and more customers are ready to book and are wanting to do so in luxury and style, with recent bookings including the very best suites available. Having not travelled in 2020, it appears that customers are willing to spend more to make up for it.

Scenic Eclipse had a very successful first season, sailing through destinations including the Arctic, Antarctica and Central and South America, and we are already seeing indications that this success will continue this year. Our repeat booking rate is looking very healthy. Scenic Eclipse’s new 2022/23 programme, which went on sale last month, sets the benchmark again, from exciting new itineraries taking guests across the Antarctic Circle to our first-ever itineraries to Japan and the Russian Arctic. Plus, the chance to be one of the privileged few to cross the legendary Northeast and Northwest Passages.

Small ship ultra-luxury expedition cruising seems to be experiencing a boom, with several cruise lines venturing into this market and launching new ships; including Scenic, who will be adding a sister ship to the Scenic Eclipse fleet in 2023. Luxury expedition cruising allows guests to visit the most remote parts of the world, offering the highest levels of safety and security to travellers who wish to avoid the hustle and bustle of popular tourist destinations, while not compromising on exceptional comfort and refinement.

Booking trends indicate that travellers are once again starting to plan for late 2021, 2022 and beyond, with ‘small ship cruising’ being particularly attractive due to lower passenger numbers and more spacious surroundings. This time next year, Emerald Azzurra, the first custom-built ocean super yacht launched by Emerald Cruises, will set out on her inaugural sailing on the Red Sea. Once complete, the 100-capacity Emerald Azzurra will offer guests a luxury small ship cruising experience.

It has certainly been a challenging 12 months, but with confidence growing and some exceptional offers in the market, now is the time to engage with customers and look forward to the bookings coming in.

Comment

The most transformative year yet

By Ben Bouldin, vice president EMEA, Royal Caribbean International


At Royal Caribbean we’re on a path of continuous innovation. We’ve been on this path since day one and, over the subsequent 51 years, we’ve pioneered countless ‘firsts’, which have seen the cruise industry evolve into the experience our guests know and love today. It’s 2020, however – the year the cruise industry largely stood still – that will be marked as one of the most transformative years to date.

The time and effort our industry has dedicated over the past year to ensure a safe return is going to see our resilient industry come back stronger and safer than ever before. Last year our fiercely competitive industry really came together, vowing never to compete when it comes to health and safety. Royal Caribbean Group formed the Health Sail Panel in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines Ltd, which saw world leading epidemiological experts develop a comprehensive set of open source recommendations for both the cruise industry and beyond, as we navigate the new world in which we operate. The work of the Panel will benefit the industry for many years to come.

Undoubtedly, when the industry returns, technology will be at the helm. Already at the forefront of our operations, technology will see developments to both new and existing initiatives such as the Royal App and Muster 2.0 really come into their own, not only in regard to safety, but in improving the overall guest experience and eradicating any friction points that result from crowds, queues and paper. It’s thanks to technological developments that the cruise holiday will continue to become more and more seamless over the years to come.

The suffering resulting from the global pandemic continues. However, I’m optimistic for the cruise industry in 2021. While there won’t be a sudden ‘light switch’ effect with the industry kicking back into action, I expect it to gradually return to its previous strength as the months unfold. Thanks to the vaccine, increased knowledge and in-depth work with international governments, we’re on the right path and I’m hopeful that by 2022 this will be largely behind us.

The industry has a whole fleet of new hardware lined up and I’m sure we’ll see each new ship rightfully celebrated in turn when the time is right. I’m looking forward to launching Quantum-Ultra class ship, Odyssey of the Seas, in Europe next year. Technology is at the helm of our safe return, but it’s also central to everything we do; Odyssey will be a prime example of this. An exquisite ship, it will be the most technologically advanced in our fleet, with innovation central to every element of the guest experience – from the activity spaces to the entertainment venues, guests can really expect to be wowed.

One thing that’s certain is that, after a year stuck at home, everyone is desperate for a holiday. It’s likely 2021 will see guests feeling more confident travelling closer to home, rather than further afield; we have some really exciting ships and itineraries in Europe in 2021, which are going to suit our European guests perfectly. Many will also want to be reunited with and spend quality time with friends and family, once it’s safe to do so, and with a cruise to suit everyone, our industry lends itself perfectly to reunions and making up for lost time. Following a year of cancellations and foregone opportunities, a cruise can provide the ultimate holiday bucket list. Whether it’s ticking off new destinations or sharing new experiences as a family, on a cruise holiday you can really have it all.

I write this in a time of ambiguity. If last year has taught me anything, it’s that there are some things that are simply beyond our control. One thing of which I’m certain, however, is that in 2021 our Travel Partners will be more important to the cruise industry than ever before. Our guests will undoubtedly look to travel agents to guide them with their holiday choices and we will rely on their support in educating our guests on our safety measures. At Royal Caribbean International, we see the travel trade as an extension of our team. We will continue to support our travel partners and ensure they are at the forefront of everything we do.

Comment

The river rises again

By Jamie Loizou, managing director, AmaWaterways


Our world has changed but what has not changed is the desire to connect with family, friends, nature and the world beyond our borders. While international travel restrictions and health concerns are still present, experience, trust and flexibility are factors strongly influencing travellers’ decisions for 2021. There are some very positive signs, like the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines, that clearly show we have started down the path to recovery with new bookings for the latter half of 2021 being very strong.

In 2021 trusting the brand will be a key part of any travel purchase decision. We are proud to be the only luxury river cruise line with successful operating experience with the enhanced health and safety protocols, while still receiving excellent guest feedback. During a 12-week period in 2020, we welcomed over 1,500 guests on a series of private German charters and, thanks to this experience, our ships are outfitted and crew stand ready to safely welcome back guests as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.

A question many operators are being asked at the moment is around financial stability and it’s important that we are able to reassure customers to give them confidence and peace of mind in order to secure those valuable bookings. AmaWaterways is a family-owned and operated business and Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Gary Murphy lead with positivity and passion. Our sole focus is river cruising and, with all our ships paid for, we have no corporate debt to worry about.

Customers are also looking for flexible booking policies and this needs to be in the armoury of tools we give our agents to convert enquiries. When it comes to flexibility, we always work hand in hand with our travel partners, but, for even greater peace of mind, we have added a limited time complimentary Ultimate Cruise Flexibility plan that allows guests to reserve their 2021 Europe or Asia river cruise and change the cruise sailing date for any reason up to 48 hours prior to the start of their journey.

River cruising has a real opportunity to grow its market share. Operationally we can be up and running very quickly. We cruise within countries on national waterways where every day begins conveniently docked in the middle of a new town or village. River cruise ships have smaller numbers of guests, which makes small group shore excursions easily manageable and, at AmaWaterways, we offer hiking and biking excursions so fresh air and open spaces can be enjoyed.

We are very confident that river cruise will be one of the earliest travel sectors to rebound. We know that all of us are very eager to dust off our postponed travel plans and start making new plans to travel with the family members and friends that we have missed. With so many milestone birthdays and anniversary celebrations postponed, the river cruise sector is seeing a trend of multi-generational and multi-family groups wanting to reunite in a safe and trusted environment.

More than ever, travellers are looking for holidays that offer meaningful connections with destinations, nature and local people rather than hurrying through a checklist of crowded tourist sites. We are seeing more interest from our guests for more extended stays in Europe by combining back-to-back cruises and adding our optional pre- or post-river cruise land packages.

This has been an incredibly challenging time to be a travel agent. You have been true travel heroes – remaining patient, positive and passionate about travel, while assisting your clients through this period of uncertainties. Only with your continued support, we will achieve the wonderful plans we have for building new sustainable ships, exploring exciting destinations, offering innovative dining options, new theme cruises and immersive excursions – while keeping our guests – your clients – safe and healthy.

Comment

The returning luxury traveller

Lynn Narraway, managing director UK & Ireland, Seabourn


Over the last few years, the luxury sector has continued to show a strong performance and a more resilient booking curve. There are more luxury travellers out there than ever before, and so with many of these consumers limited to ‘staycations’ in 2020, I believe that there is an underlying and pent-up demand for our guests to travel. Many Seabourn guests have already secured their 2021, 2022 and even 2023 holidays, so that they have a luxury experience to look forward to. I predict that more companies, like ourselves will be launching 2023 product early to meet this demand from consumers.

I believe that the ‘bucket list’ destinations will be key. For example: Antarctica, Australia, the Arctic and Greenland. We have already had to respond to the demands of the luxury traveller towards experiential satisfaction, and the growing number of expedition operators and dedicated expedition cruise ships will continue to develop unique experiences to cater for this demand for ‘soft adventure’ and learning – such as kayaking around Heimaey in the Westman Islands being taught about bird life by an ornithologist, visiting Viking ruins with an archaeologist, or whale watching in Antarctica with a wildlife expert.

These ships have entire teams of scientists and experts onboard, and when our first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, arrives in December she will present these experiences in ultra-luxury, offering 132 all-veranda oceanfront suites, stunning interiors by designer Adam D Tihany, alongside kayaks, 24 Zodiacs, and even two custom-built six-guest submarines with their own champagne coolers!

Luxury may not always mean ‘actual luxury’ but rather ‘remote’, ‘hard to find exclusivity’, so for some travellers this will be the luxury of being able to access incredible places – and being the only people in that place at the time – which may mean a tour behind-the-scenes at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, or a bespoke cooking class at a Tuscan farmhouse.

People will also be looking at new technology solutions that will protect our environment. For instance, Seabourn Venture will run on MGO (Marine Gas Oil) for 365 days a year, the most preferred clean fuel that can be used. The ship will be equipped with DPS (Dynamic Positioning System), so never needs to drop anchor anywhere, and 100 per cent of the lighting will be LED, with less energy consumption and heat generation that will reduce HVAC consumption. The ship also offers the latest Advanced Waste Water Treatment Systems and more.

I believe there will be more demand for personalised service, the difference between being catered to, and being truly cared for! Consumers will be desperate to travel, however they will need reassurance that the correct protocols are in place, and they will look for this advice even more from their trusted travel adviser.

Most importantly, I believe that cruise will be the safest way to travel. The cruise industry is 100 per cent committed to investing in the very highest standards of protocols to protect our guests and crew.

Positivity is key – and there is plenty of that in this industry. We just need to remain positive over the next few months. This is where our valued travel partners come in. Learn about these protocols and be confident. You are perfectly placed to translate this positivity to our guests to regain their trust and confidence to travel again.

News

Holland America launches ‘We Are Alaska’ month

The promotion will include webinars and immersive videos to help agents sell ‘The Great Land’ as a destination 


Holland America Line is to run a ‘We Are Alaska’ month in a bid to help increase trade awareness around the destination.

The month will include webinars and immersive videos led by the Holland America business development team.

Lynn Narraway, Holland America Line’s managing director UK & Ireland, said: “Alaska is all about wide open spaces, spectacular scenery and rare wildlife, and we know it’s the sort of destination that travellers will long to visit in 2021 and 2022, whether they take an Inside Passage cruise to venture further inland to Denali National Park or Canada’s Yukon Territory – an exclusive to Holland America Line. HAL has been showing travellers this beautiful region for over 70 years, nobody knows Alaska better than we do, therefore the key objectives of ‘We Are Alaska’ month are for us to for share HAL’s own extensive experience with agent partners.

“At a time when most of us are working from home, this is the ideal opportunity for travel professionals to become Alaska experts themselves by joining our webinars, taking our HAL Academy Alaska specialist course, experiencing ‘The Great Land’ through beautiful video and noting our own expert tips and fun facts. We want to share our Alaska story, so that travel partners (and their clients) can discover the three best ways to get to know Alaska with Holland America Line – ‘By Land, By Sea, By Experts’.”

Wendy Lahmich, HAL’s director of sales UK & Ireland, added: “We want to give our travel partners more confidence to sell Alaska as a destination, therefore to help them on their journey we are offering an extra two per cent bonus commission on any HAL 2021 Alaska cruise or Land & Sea Journey booked until December 31, 2020.  For instance, on an 18-night holiday for two that includes a seven-night Alaska cruise, three nights in a Wilderness Lodge at Denali National Park and a tour of the stunning Yukon territory, that could mean an extra bonus of more than £200.”

Agents may visit Go.HAL.com or email salessupport@hollandamerica.co.uk to see the schedule of ‘We Are Alaska’ events and register for webinars and other activities.

Comment

“The more remote the trip, the better…”

Monique Ponfoort, the new CEO at Aurora Expeditions, on why people will want to get away from it all, post-pandemic


While a lot of things in the world may feel quite uncertain at the moment, the one thing I am certain of is that the desire to travel is strong, and the more remote and nature-based the trip, the better.

Since I joined Aurora Expeditions last month, I have witnessed first-hand the strong inclination from our guests who want to reconnect with the natural world through small ship expedition voyages. We have seen very strong pre-registration numbers for 2022 voyages which makes me incredibly optimistic for the future of the industry.

Based on recent research, we are expecting to see more and more people coming to us to book a once-a-year incredible trip and move away from booking several smaller holidays. Expedition voyaging is known for being an extremely unique experience; you never know exactly what you may see in these wild parts of the world, and we expect that the growing desire for more remote, nature and wildlife-based holidays will only continue to soar in the post-pandemic world as people look for high-quality travel in less populous destinations to engage with nature and wildlife.

The industry has been using this unexpected down time to its advantage. It is essential to move forward from this period successfully and ensure we can offer our guests and loyal trade partners the most intrepid and adventurous experiences possible. The unprecedented times we find ourselves in have given the expedition cruise industry a unique opportunity to take some time to refine and finesse product offerings. From the booking process, to onboard experiences and shore excursions, all operators will undoubtedly move forward with the highest quality product they are able to offer.

The industry is resilient, as are the passengers who partake in these types of voyages. We are all committed and focused on the wellbeing of our passengers as the main priority. Moving forward, the industry’s high standards of health and safety protocols will be, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the best in the world.

Small ship expeditions have always offered many unique benefits, including smaller passenger numbers and less crowding. Of course, travelling to remote parts of the world has always brought with it an element of risk, but this is nothing new for the industry. It is used to operating and managing medical situations in remote places and has incredibly strong processes in place, which of course need to be adapted in this new world we find ourselves in. At Aurora Expeditions, we have a fully functioning medical centre onboard including isolation rooms that are serviced by both a highly qualified ship doctor and a qualified paramedic, and all medical consultations on board are free of charge.

As part of our new health and safety protocols, all our passengers will be tested for Covid-19 before leaving their home destination, prior to embarkation and again once onboard. While I can’t speak for other operators, I am sure this will be the new norm across the cruise industry.

Like many in the industry, I can’t wait to get out and explore the wild and remote parts of the world on an expedition soon and I know that many passengers, especially those who are committed expeditioners, will be ready and waiting too. The experiences on an expedition voyage touch you personally and the emotions you feel at that moment have been known to be transformational. We are really looking forward to taking expeditioners back to explore the most extraordinary natural corners of the world, with the greatest of respect.

Incentives and events

P&O increases commission; win a trip to Antarctica

P&O Cruises has increased agent commission by one per cent and will give away an additional 100,000 Shine points during the peak booking period from December until March, 2021 as a reward for support shown by agents in 2020.

Alex Delamere-White, P&O Cruises vice president sales and marketing, said: “Nothing could have prepared us for the challenges faced this year and the cruise sector has arguably had it tougher than any other. The commission increase, which runs until March 31, is in recognition of the support we have seen from agents throughout this year as we all return to face a brighter new year sales period.”


Norwegian Cruise Line has launched NCL Air – a platform for fly-cruise bookings which is now available in the UK and Continental Europe.

NCL Air offers real-time access and current pricing to flights from across the UK and Ireland to departure ports around the world. At the same time, travel agents  benefit from a simplified booking process, all while receiving a minimum 10 per cent commission on the entire flight package.


Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is offering guests up to £600 to spend on board or a free drinks package as part of its annual Cruise Sale.

The offer runs until February 2, 2021 and includes more than 120 cruises from 2021 and 2022.


Intrepid Travel has launched an incentive giving agents the chance to win a trip to Antarctica.

Agents can enter the Race to the Pole incentive by selling an Intrepid trip or joining one of the company’s webinars. Those who make an Antarctica booking will receive five entries into the competition.

The competition runs until February 28, 2021. The prize includes flights, transfers, pre/post departure accommodation and a single berth in a twin window cabin on Ocean Endeavour in the 2022/23 season.


AmaWaterways has launched its second training course on AmaAcademy, its online training platform, focusing on the Danube.

The course is designed to help agents increase their sales on the popular river.

Travel agents who make a reservation with a deposit within 90 days of completing the new course qualify to earn a £25 Love2shop voucher – limited to one voucher per agent

New hires

Jan Swartz becomes HAL group president

Jan Swartz, the president & CEO of Princess Cruises, has become the new group president of Holland America Group.
“Jan is a highly respected executive and a role model,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & PLC. “Jan is a champion of innovation and a proven leader.”
Meanwhile, Stein Kruse is now a senior adviser to the chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation.
Donald added: “Stein’s knowledge and experience have been invaluable to the corporation during the course of his career. This new role provides us an opportunity to further leverage his expertise and skills, providing widespread benefits to the company.”

Andrew Schweitzer has become the new business development manager for Quark Expeditions.
Schweitzer has held various roles for Viking Cruises, in both the UK and Australia, having worked for the company since 2011. His most recent role was key account manager.

Natalie Read has been hired by SeaDream to represent the company in the UK as its sales director.

Read, who used to work for Cruise Portfolio, previously represented Crystal Cruises and Paul Gauguin. She replaces Mark Schmitt who moved to Tradewind Voyages earlier in the year.

News

Cancellations

From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates

A-Rosa

A-Rosa River Cruises has suspended all Rhine and Danube sailings suspended up to and including 30 November 2020. It’s season has ended on the Douro and in France.

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has suspended all cruises, with the exception of the chartered service on the Rhine that has been in operation since July. The company plans to resume voyages in 2021. 

Guests who were booked on a cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit, equal to 115 per cent of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways, or receiving a full monetary refund.

The future cruise credit is applicable on all European or Mekong River cruise sailings before December 31, 2022.

APT Touring

APT Touring has suspended cruises until December 31, 2020.

For anyone booked to travel in 2020, APT Touring has introduced its new Covid Flexible Booking Cover, which gives customers the option to change their booking free of charge and the flexibility to change their booking up to 100 days before departure.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways has suspended cruises until December 31, 2020, except for a limited number of festive cruises.

Azamara

Azamara has cancelled all sailings until spring 2021. Azamara Quest returns to service on March 20, 2021; Azamara Journey on April 9, 2021; Azamara Pursuit on May 9, 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has suspended cruises in North America until December 31 and in Australia and New Zealand until December 2.

Carnival Magic sailings are cancelled until March 13, 2021. Carnival Paradise until March 19, 2021. Carnival Valor will resume service April 29, 2021. Carnival Spirit resumes from Singapore to Brisbane on June 12, 2021.

The launch date for Mardi Gras is now February 6, 2021, while Carnival Radiance is delayed until at least Spring 2021.

Carnival is giving guests who wish to move their booking to a later date a rebooking offer that combines a future cruise credit and either a $300 or $600 onboard credit. Guests have the option to receive a full refund.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has cancelled all sailings until December 31, 2020.

All cruises in Asia, Australia and New Zealand are cancelled for the entire 2020-2021 season.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises has suspended all cruises until March 6, 2021.

For all named and paid individual guests impacted by this suspension, Celestyal Cruises is offering a future cruise credit (FCC) valued at 120 per cent of original booking value. Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to redeem their FCC against any of Celestyal Cruises’ itineraries through end of December 2022. To provide additional peace of mind, should guests choose not to redeem their FCC by end of December 2021, they will automatically receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal upon the voucher’s expiration. Celestyal Cruises will automatically send the FCC voucher directly to guests or their travel agents, so there will be no need to call the contact centre other than to rebook.

CroisiEurope

CroisiEurope resumed river cruise services on the Rhône and the Danube and with its ocean ship in July. However, as a result of recent lockdowns across Europe, the line has suspended all sailings until early 2021.

In a statement the line said: “Customers affected by cancellations can rebook their cruise or receive a refund credit note valid for 18 months from the date of issue, which can be redeemed against bookings made before December 15, 2021, on any cruise subject to availability.”

Crystal

Crystal has cancelled all 2020 cruises for its ocean, yacht and river fleet. Sailings are expected to resume with the January 3, 2021 sailing of Crystal Esprit. Crystal’s first scheduled river cruise departure is the March 26, 2021 voyage aboard Crystal Bach.

Crystal is providing all affected guests with credits equal to 125 per cent of the cruise fare paid on fully-paid reservations – along with a refund of port charges, taxes and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal. For guests who have not fully paid, the credit will then be based on the deposited amount. Credits are valid on any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking through December 31, 2023.

For river sailings, guests can move their current 2020 reservation, including all payments made, to an equivalent sailing during the same time period in 2021, with price protection on the cruise fare and port charges – representing a significant value for them. If a guest chooses not to rollover their cruise to a 2021 river sailing, they may transfer their reservation to any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) embarking up to December 31, 2023 at prevailing rates. All monies paid will be transferred to the new reservation.

Cunard

Cunard has suspended operations until March 25, 2021 for Queen Elizabeth; April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has suspended cruises until December 31, 2020.

Guests booked on affected sailings who have paid their reservation in full will be offered the choice of a future cruise credit (FCC) or a full refund. Guests who have not paid their reservations in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far. Affected guests and travel agents will receive an email from Disney Cruise Line outlining details and next steps.

Emerald Waterways/Scenic

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has suspended all itineraries until December 31, 2020.

The Scenic Group is offering booked guests a flexible future travel credit (FTC) valued at 110 per cent of monies deposited on any affected river and cruise booking and 100 per cent of monies deposited on any affected land tours. Guests will be offered a FTC that can be applied to any new or existing booking across the portfolio of brands through to June 30, 2023. The FTC is fully transferrable to another guest. Should a guest be unable to travel by June 30, 2023, they will be given a refund.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

On August 21, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines confirmed that Black Watch and Boudicca would depart the fleet and sailings on both vessels will be replaced by newer acquisitions from Holland America Line, which will enter service as Borealis and Bolette.

Fred Olsen has currently suspended its sailings as follows: Balmoral (suspended to December 22, 2020); Borealis (December 22, 2020); Bolette (March 25, 2021); Braemar (March 20, 2021); 2021 Grand Voyage (March 11, 2021).

G Adventures

G Adventures has suspended all cruises until January 2021.

All UK travellers booked on a tour who do not wish to rebook their trip to a later date will receive a fully-protected refund credit note for 100 per cent of the amount paid for all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, as well as an additional 10 per cent travel credit as a gesture of goodwill, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension. If the traveller desires a cash refund this will be provided to them as soon as possible, and no later than January 31, 2021. G Adventures is offering a Book With Confidence policy, which lets them cancel and rebook their tour closer to the time of departure.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line has cancelled all cruises until December 31, 2020. 

In July, the line announced that MaasdamVeendamRotterdam and Amsterdam would leave the fleet this year. Most cruises aboard these ships have been cancelled. The 2021 Grand Voyage has been cancelled and moved to 2022, where it will operate on board ZaandamRotterdam’s Grand Africa Voyage in October 2021 will now take place aboard Zaandam on the same dates.

Guests who have paid in full will receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit of the base fare paid. Those who have not paid in full will receive a future cruise credit double the amount of the deposit paid for the cruise.

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten has cancelled expedition voyages until January 2021 and its entire 2020-21 Antarctic season. 

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has cancelled all sailings until December 16, 2020.

All customers whose bookings are impacted by the changes will receive a refund credit and up to 10 per cent incentive of the total value of their booking, or they can request a cash refund via an online form on the Tui website. 

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has suspended cruise operations until December 31, 2020 for its Caribbean voyages from North America. The line restarted limited cruises aboard MSC Grandiosa from Genoa on August 16.

MSC Cruises UK & Ireland is offering guests affected by the cancellations a future cruise credit of 125 per cent to be used on a future cruise through to the end of 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended operations until December 31, 2020.

Cruises on Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Dawn have been cancelled until March 2021.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises has cancelled all cruises until December 31, 2020.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has cancelled all cruises until January 2021.

Guests with a holiday affected will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit (FCC). FCCs may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises restarted sailings on July 11 for residents of French Polynesia, and July 29 for international travellers. After a Covid-19 outbreak onboard the July 29 sailing, the ship resumed operations on August 22.

Ponant

Ponant restarted cruises in July for the French market.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has cancelled sailings on most of its fleet until December 31, 2020, including voyages in Asia, the Caribbean, the California Coast, Hawaii, Mexico, the Panama Canal, South America, Antarctica, Japan, Tahiti and the South Pacific. 

Cruises in and out of Australia and New Zealand on Majestic PrincessRegal PrincessSapphire Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess are cancelled until December 12, 2020.

Additionally, Princess has cancelled its 2021 world cruise voyages aboard Island Princess and Pacific Princess.

Sun Princess and Sea Princess have left the fleet and all future sailings on both ships have also been cancelled.

Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages who have paid Princess in full will have the option to receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 per cent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25 per cent of the cruise fare.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has suspended its global cruise operations until December 31, 2020.

Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel has cancelled all cruises until further notice.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has cancelled all sailings until December 31, 2020, excluding sailings from Hong Kong. The line has confirmed it will restart cruising from Singapore on December 1, for Singaporeans only. Voyages to Australia and New Zealand are suspended until January 1, 2021.

Saga

Saga has cancelled all cruises on the new Spirit of Adventure until May 3, 2021 and on Spirit of Discovery until April.

Seabourn

Seabourn has paused global operations until 2021, with Seabourn Encore cancelled until May 28, 2021; Seabourn Ovation until April 18, 2021; Seabourn Quest until May 10, 2021; Seabourn Sojourn until May 24, 2021; Seabourn Odyssey until January 15, 2021.

In addition, the line has announced a further delay to its new purpose-built expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture, until December 2021.

Guests with impacted cruises will receive a future cruise credit. If they’ve paid in full they will receive 125 per cent credit of the cruise base fare. If a deposit has been paid guests will receive 125 per cent of the deposit paid, plus $300 on board credit per suite.

Silversea

Silversea has suspended sailings of its fleet until the following dates: Silver Cloud (March 19, 2021); Silver Wind (June 14, 2021); Silver Shadow (December 4); Silver Spirit (December 1, 2020); Silver Muse (December 20, 2020); Silver Whisper (December 9, 2020); Silver Explorer (February 9, 2021); Silver Moon (December 8, 2020); Silver Dawn (November 9, 2021); Silver Origin (December 5, 2020).

Titan

Titan has suspended all tour and cruise departures until January 31, 2021.

Uniworld

Uniworld has suspended all river cruises until January 2021.

Viking Cruises

Viking has suspended all ocean and river cruises until the end of the year.

The line is offering 125 per cent future cruise credits.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has postponed the inaugural season of its first ship Scarlet Lady until January 3, 2021.

Those booked on a cruise that has been cancelled can opt for 200 per cent in future cruise credit (FCC) which can be applied to another sailing, up to $500 in onboard credit, or 100 per cent refund, plus 25 per cent FCC on the value paid to use for a future booking. Bookings made prior to December 10, 2021 for sailings in 2021 and 2022 will be eligible for cancellation up to 48 hours in advance, with a full credit given.

Windstar

Windstar has suspended all cruise operations until January 1, 2021.

Guests on cancelled cruises receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit. In addition, Windstar has launched a new Travel Assurance Booking Policy, which is applicable to new and existing cruises departing until December 31, 2021. Travellers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is for cruise fares only.