Looking ahead to 2021, and finding some reasons to be cheerful
Plus, Saga becomes the first line to gain health accreditation
Plus, Celebrity Cruises launches its new Always Included concept
Plus, we chat to Fred Olsen about the ex-UK market
The first ocean-going vessel from Emerald Cruises has floated out at The Halong Shipbuilding Company in Vietnam
Plus, we chat to Ron Peck, director of tourism development at Port of Seattle
From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates
Watch a video of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship
The latest industry offers and appointments
This voyage from Plymouth to Edinburgh is your chance to discover some of the British Isles’ most wildlife-rich destination
No-fly cruises make sense in a world of travel bubbles
Hello and welcome to the latest issue of Cruise Adviser. The year, mercifully, is drawing to a close and the hope that the New Year carries is just around the corner. The chance to start anew is a promise that January always brings, but that clean break is needed more than ever before. All being well, the New Year will bring about the return to something like normal life with the substantial roll-out of a vaccine, the phasing out of lockdowns, pent-up demand delivering a strength-giving peaks and, in spring, the resumption of cruise.
It’s often difficult to be optimistic. Every time there is good news, bad news seems to follow. We often seem to be standing still or, worse, going backwards. But now we have a vaccine that is a reality rather than a pipe dream; Saga becoming the first cruise line to be awarded with a health accreditation by Lloyd’s Register for Covid-19 health assurance; and the government’s (admittedly vague) plan to consider cruise’s resumption.
You’ll find all this and more in our news section, alongside some great features, including an interview with Celebrity Cruises on their move to an all-inclusive product and a chat with the Port of Seattle about the future of cruise in the US. This issue also is an ex-UK special, with Fred Olsen providing comment on the future of the sector; Jane Archer’s How to Sell focusing on the best 2021 cruises; and Anthony Pearce on why it’s such a good holiday choice.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new edition and what more you’d like to see, so please do email email@example.com. We hope you enjoy reading – and good luck selling.
Over the summer, during lockdown, we dropped our print edition – and we’ve now made that move permanent. This is the second issue on a new interactive platform which will allow us to incorporate video, audio and animations into the design, creating a unique proposition.
We believe that now is the right time to move away from print – with a fast-changing news cycle, the industry’s push towards more sustainable practices, the rise of remote working and busier-than-ever work schedules, a proper, thought-out digital magazine is the only sensible way to go. You can read more about our thinking here.
Cruise Adviser exists to make your job easier, help you better understand cruises and, ultimately, sell more of them. Our reader surveys over the summer have helped us understand the challenges you face and the questions your customers are asking. This issue, and the ones that follow, will help you navigate these stormy waters – explaining the latest Foreign Office and travel corridor advice, safety protocols, testing breakthroughs, as well as covering the latest news, from ship launches to fam trips and incentives; features about the best new itineraries; comment; interviews; and analysis.
Cruise Adviser is the leading cruise publication for the travel trade. The award-winning magazine contains insightful comment, features, news and advice for those looking to sell cruise holidays. Uniquely aimed at front-line travel agents, two thirds of readers say the magazine has helped them make a sale.
Cruise Adviser is published monthly, and is out on the second Wednesday of the month.
Anthony Pearce, director
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Sam Ballard, director
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The new super yacht Emerald Azzurra, the first ocean-going vessel from Emerald Cruises, has floated out at the Halong Shipbuilding Company in Vietnam.
It will set sail on January 28, 2022 on the eight-day Best of the Red Sea itinerary. The cruise starts from £3,625 per person for an oceanview stateroom.
Glen Moroney, founder and chairman of The Scenic Group, said: “We are incredibly excited to see Emerald Azzurra successfully enter the water as the next stage of her build, the completion of the interior, commences. Once again Emerald Cruises is looking to the future and building a game-changing vessel at a time when small-ship experiences are gaining in popularity. We can’t wait for past river cruise guests and new customers alike to join us on board our very own ocean-going yacht in 2022.”
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.
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
You can win one of 10 £50 Amazon vouchers with the Port of Seattle and Visit Seattle. Simply watch the full training video and answer the questions on the next page to win.
Terms and Conditions
Ten x £50 Amazon vouchers to be won (one per winner)
All correct entries will be entered into a prize draw to decide the ten winners
No correspondence will be entered into
Prizes are not exchangeable or refundable and there is no cash alternative
Email address will be required as the Amazon voucher will be email to each winner
The judges’ decision is final. You must be a travel agent to enter
Prize winners will be informed of their win by 31 January 2021.
Win a £50 Amazon voucher courtesy of the Port of Seattle & Visit Seattle. Watch the video and answer the below to be in with a chance of winning!
Whether it’s taking in the view from the top of the Space Needle to sipping the local wine in Walla Walla, Washington State offers a whole lot more than simply being the start-off point for your clients’ Alaska cruise. It’s known for its pristine wilderness experiences, rugged mountains, stunning seascapes and aqua lakes
The Port of Seattle has produced a handy Cruise & Stay Guide to show you the many ways in which you can extend your clients’ holiday – and earn some extra commission in the process. On top of that there is also the informative training video on YouTube (below) that tells you everything you need to know.
The obvious place to start is the city of Seattle – the gem of America’s Pacific Northwest with regular direct non-stop flights from the UK and Ireland in under 9.5 hours. The city is incredibly walkable: you can grab a coffee in the world’s oldest Starbucks and still be sipping it as you dodge the fish being flung by the traders at the historic Pike Place Market. From near the market in downtown Seattle, you can hop on the monorail to visit some of the city’s cultural institutions at the Seattle Center, starting at the Museum of Pop Culture (where you can stand in awe at the vast tower of guitars) before wandering over to the psychedelic glass art at Chihuly Garden and Glass. The world famous Space Needle offers the chance to see it all from their rotating platform over a glass of wine, way above the city. Just outside of the city is the Boeing factory – a chance to see where aircraft are born – all housed in the world’s biggest building by volume. It’ll take your breath away.
However, Washington has so much more to offer than Seattle alone. The State is incredibly diverse: from Mount Rainier National Park, perfect for hiking; to the Olympic National Park, with its temperate rain forest, Pacific beaches and high mountain range. There’s whale watching in the Salish Sea and wine tasting at over 1,000 vineyards – while Yakima is the largest single source of beer hops in the world, meaning you’re never far from a locally brewed craft beer.
The Cruise & Stay Guide tells you everything you need to know about cruising from Seattle, the city’s fascinating historic connections with Alaska and where to send your clients both within the city and beyond. The Port of Seattle has worked with the likes of Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, Travalco, InquisiTours, ATI and Bonotel to package itineraries that can be purchased for escorted groups or self-drive FIT. These are downloadable from SeattleCruiseAlaska.co.uk on the Plan Your Holiday page.
Washington truly is a fascinating State and, as Ron Peck, the director of tourism development at the Port of Seattle says: “The only two things we don’t have here are Mickey Mouse ears and swamps. And you can go to Florida for that.”
From river to ocean, small-ship to mega-vessels, this is our comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies and suspension dates
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 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 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 has suspended cruises until February 28, 2021, except for a limited number of festive cruises.
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 has suspended cruises in North America until February 28, 2021.
Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor, Carnival 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021.
In July, the line announced that Maasdam, Veendam, Rotterdam 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 Zaandam. Rotterdam’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 has cancelled expedition voyages until January 2021 and its entire 2020-21 Antarctic season.
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 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 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 has cancelled all cruises until March 31, 2021.
P&O Cruises has cancelled all cruises until April 2021.
Paul Gauguin Cruises has suspended sailings until March 6, 2021.
Ponant restarted cruises in July for the French market, but has now suspended operations until the end of December 2020.
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 Princess, Regal Princess, Sapphire 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 has suspended its global cruise operations until March 31, 2021.
Riviera Travel has cancelled all cruises until further notice.
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 has cancelled all cruises on the new Spirit of Adventure until May 3, 2021 and on Spirit of Discovery until April.
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 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 has suspended all tour and cruise departures until January 31, 2021.
Uniworld has suspended all river cruises until January 2021.
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 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 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.
Royal Caribbean has floated out its newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, in a key construction milestone for the vessel. It is Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum-Ultra class vessel, following Spectrum of the Seas, and will sail in Europe from spring 2021.
Ben Bouldin, vice president, EMEA, Royal Caribbean International, commented: “We are delighted to reveal a glimpse of Odyssey of the Seas to the public. She will be the latest Royal Caribbean game-changer to join our fleet next year. When we welcome our guests back, they will be able to enjoy unforgettable activities onboard Odyssey, dig in to delicious dining from around the world, and soak up the sun at a newly designed resort-style pool deck.”
The operation at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany took more than seven hours to complete. The next stages are to complete interior work, after which the ship will be conveyed down the River Ems to complete sea trials. The new ship features bumper cars, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and the largest indoor activity at sea, SeaPlex. There is also Sky Pad, the virtual reality bungee experience, and RipCord by iFly, a skydiving simulator.
For more information and itineraries onboard Odyssey of the Seas, visit here.
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
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.
This expedition-style voyage from Plymouth to Edinburgh is your chance to discover some of the British Isles’ most historically significant and wildlife-rich destinations. Cruise on Poseidon’s small, luxury expedition ship is the perfect way to visit difficult-to-access locations where tourist value far exceeds tourist numbers.
The cruise begins with beautiful Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. In Scotland, guests explore early Christian history on the peaceful Isle of Iona, archeological sites in the Orkney Islands, and exciting birdlife on Shetland’s beautiful Fair Isle. See more here.
A no-fly cruise from the UK is one of the most relaxing ways to travel – it also makes perfect sense in a world of travel bubbles, writes Anthony Pearce
I often reminisce about my first experiences on a cruise ship: sat on top deck with a book and beer, basking in the July sunshine as we sailed out of the Thames Estuary on the way to Norway. With Tilbury just 40 minutes from London and, having embarked almost seamlessly – bags dropped, passports checked – within 15 minutes or so, it was one of the most relaxing beginnings to a holiday I’d ever experienced. Not only did this immediately begin my love of cruise, but my love of sea days, too: being in the middle of the ocean, miles from away from anywhere, completely cut off from the world – it felt totally different to any trip I’d been on before. A true seafarer’s adventure, only with added baked Alaska and bingo.
Much has changed since that trip in 2014, not least that the line I sailed on; Cruise & Maritime Voyages, no longer exists and its iconic vessel, Marco Polo, is no longer in service. But there have been great strides forward, too. Since then, P&O Cruises has launched Britannia, with Iona having joined its fleet in October. The largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market at 185,000 tonnes, 345m in length with 17 guest decks and capable of holding 5,200 guests and 1,800 crew, Iona is also the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The vessel will feature a number of firsts for P&O Cruises, including the SkyDome, a new venue on board that will be used both day and night and will have eight speciality restaurants, 13 entertainment venues and four swimming pools including an infinity pool at the aft of the ship, plus 16 whirlpools. As P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, put it: “Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising.” Beginning in April, the ship starts by sailing seven-night Norwegian fjords sailings before heading to the Canaries.
As ever, Southampton remains the undisputed home of no-fly cruise – even more so next year, with MSC Cruises partnering 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 her second ex-UK season. MSC has also confirmed that it will continue to homeport at least one ship throughout the partnership with Southampton, while it also expects other ships within it 17-vessel strong fleet to make calls at the new terminal. Of the 21 available sailings the cruise 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.
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas is also set to run a mini-season from Europe, including two sailings out of Southampton. The company is currently on track to receive the first Quantum Ultra-class ship from the shipyard in March 2021. It will then sail out of Barcelona and Southampton before beginning its summer season in Rome, then sail to the US in November.
Saga has its first purpose-built ships Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, which arrived in the UK in October, operating out of Dover and Southampton. The ships have transformed the sector’s offering; these boutique vessels allow the line to pair its famously smooth on board (and pick-up) service with luxurious hardware. Meanwhile, Fred Olsen, one of the sector’s major players, has two new ships on the way: Bolette and Borealis, which previously sailed for Holland America Line. The former has 34 cruises scheduled next year, the first from Southampton, taking in Scotland, on March 5, while the latter has 37, beginning April 23 from Liverpool, also heading to Scotland. The line has sailings from Dover, Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle in England and Rosyth (Edinburgh) in Scotland, making it now one of the only lines to utilise ‘regional’ departure ports. It’s a gap left behind by CMV’s demise – with the line having sailed out of the likes of Hull, Belfast and Bristol, among others. However, where there are fewer choices from regional ports, cruise lines are increasingly sailing from the UK. Next year, Hurtigruten has no-fly cruises offering guests the choice of five expedition itineraries with numerous departures from Dover exploring locations around the British Isles, Norway and, for the first time, Southern Scandinavia.
As Jane Archer notes in this month’s How to Sell, experts are predicting that, as the world gets back to normal post-Covid, more people will be looking to set sail from the UK than ever before. It’s easy to see why.