November 2020

Return of the rivers


November 2020

In this Issue

News: When do cruises restart?

Details of cruise line restarts, along with each line’s current regulations regarding vaccination, Covid-19 testing and the wearing of face masks

November 2020
November 2020 – In This Issue
Promotion: Norwegian Cruise Line
Editor’s letter

The start of a new era: the digital-only interactive Cruise Adviser


Snippet here


Snippet here

News: Cruises could return in January

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

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

Video: Watch Iona float out

P&O Cruises welcomed Iona to its fleet following an official handover ceremony

Promotion: Viking
News: Viking develops testing lab

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

Promotion: Why cruise with NCL?
News: Opportunities for adventure

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

News: Cancellations

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

Promotion: Cunard
News: Incentives and new hires

The latest industry offers and appointments

Feature: The return of river cruise

Earlier in the year, a number of continental cruise lines returned to the rivers of France, Germany and beyond, establishing the blueprint for a wider return

Feature: What safe cruising looks like

From nightly sanitation and cleaning measures to face-coverings, social distancing and testings, cruise lines have had to go above and beyond in their safety protocols

Feature: The best of 2021

Sam Ballard looks ahead to some exciting itineraries for next year


When do cruises restart?

Details of cruise line restarts are below, along with each line’s current regulations regarding vaccination, Covid-19 testing and the wearing of face masks. This information is updated regularly; you can find all the latest cruise news here.


A-Rosa River Cruises has now restarted cruises on the Rhine/Moselle/Main, the Danube and the Douro.

Due to hygiene and health protocols, more staff are required and, because of quarantine regulations for international crew members, some are experiencing delays in taking up their roles. As a result, cruises on A-Rosa Flora have been suspended until September 24.

Cruises on the Seine and Rhone will not resume in 2021.

Regulations: Before departure, all guests (six years and older) require proof of a negative PCR test (maximum 72 hours old) or rapid antigen test (maximum 48 hours old, no self-test) or a complete Covid-19 vaccination (14 days after last vaccination dose) or recovery from Covid-19 (proof of a positive PCR test at least 28 days, max. six months old). Guests should take a sufficient number of medical masks and the line recommends carrying FFP2 masks, as in some regions they are compulsory. More information here.


AmaWaterways has restarted European river cruises on the Douro, Danube, Rhine and also in France.

Guests impacted by European sailings suspended from July until October 31 will be contacted directly. All Mekong River cruises through Vietnam and Cambodia have been suspended until November 30.  

Regulations: Guests must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days (in the case of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca or 28 days for Johnson & Johnson) prior to their sailing date. We also recommend all guests, regardless of vaccination status, take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and bring documentation of a negative result with them on their sailing, as a precautionary measure.

Prior to boarding, an online health and contact screening questionnaire will be required and at embarkation, guests’ temperatures will be taken with no-contact infrared thermometers. Guests are required to wear face coverings when moving through interior spaces and medical grade or N95/KN95 masks are recommended. More information here.

APT Touring

APT Touring is hoping to resume tours and cruises from October.

In the meantime, the company is offering 100 per cent future holiday credit (FHC) valid on any of their brands up to December 31, 2023.

Regulations: APT has adopted the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) recommendations and actioned increased health screenings and protocols for all cruises, both on board and prior to boarding, for all passengers and crew. More information here.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways has restarted its European river cruises on the Seine, Rhine, Danube and Rhône. Sailings on the Moselle resume on September 10.

It says: “All 2021 travel bookings automatically come with our Peace of Mind Travel Plan – free of charge. This plan gives guests the ability to move their booking to another destination, vacation, brand or simply a different 2021 or 2022 departure date, no questions asked. For as long as the Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting, travel, all bookings for 2022 travel dates are also covered by the Peace of Mind Travel Plan, extending the ability to move travel dates to 2023.”

Regulations: Proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination is required. There will be reduced ship capacity and social distancing guidelines, plus mandatory health screening, including touch-free temperature-check, for all guests and crew at embarkation. More information here.


Azamara has resumed sailing on Azamara Quest. Azamara Journey will operate Mediterranean cruses from October 13.

Regulations: The line says it is collaborating with government health authorities and Clia to develop its boarding screening process and updated health protocols, which are not yet finalised. More information here.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has restarted cruises in North America.

Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor, Carnival Legend and Carnival Radiance are due to return to service in November.

Australia voyages aboard Carnival Spirit are suspended until September 12 and Carnival Splendor until September 17.

Regulations: Vaccinated cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to embarkation day and have proof of vaccination. Additionally, fully vaccinated guests must present the negative results of a Covid-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within three days of their embarkation. The line will continue to welcome unvaccinated guests, including children under 12 who are not eligible for a vaccine. The application process has its own set of procedures that must be carefully followed. More information here.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises has now resumed sailings in Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska and the Galápagos.

Regulations: All guests and crew above the age of 18 must vaccinated against Covid-19. Those under the age of 18 must have a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of embarkation. More information here.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises resumed operations in June, but following the conclusion of its summer season it has decided to postpone its autumn and winter sailings and will resume operation in March 2022, as per the scheduled programme.

All named and paid individual guests impacted by the postponement of sailings from September until December will have the option of receiving full refunds or applying their deposits to 2022 or 2023 sailings with a 20 per cent bonus value to be applied to their future sailing. 

Regulations: All guests will have to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of embarkation. There will be thermal screening at embarkation and daily contactless monitoring throughout the vessel. More information here.


CroisiEurope has restarted most European river cruises, French canal cruises and its ocean cruises from Croatia and Corsica.

Regulations: Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test prior to embarkation. More information here.


Crystal has resumed sailings with the majority of its ocean and river fleet. Crystal Esprit’s return has now been delayed until September 27.

Regulations: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and a mandatory test with negative results will be required prior to departure. Guests will also have their temperature checked both prior to boarding ship or venturing ashore and Crystal operates what it calls a “responsive mask policy”. More information here.


Cunard has resumed sailing with a series of Staycation voyages from Southampton on Queen Elizabeth.

As a result of continuing global travel restrictions, the line has reviewed their international sailing plans.

All voyages on Queen Elizabeth after October 18, 2021 and on or before March 9, 2022 are now cancelled and will be replaced with new voyages to the Iberian Coast and the Canary Islands.

The World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 from January 3, 2022 is now cancelled and will be replaced with new roundtrip voyages from Southampton to the Caribbean via the Canary Islands and New York.

Queen Victoria will remain out of service until late April 2022 and all voyages between September 10, 2021 and April 29, 2022 have been cancelled. Some of these cancelled voyages will transfer to Queen Elizabeth.

The line will be will be contacting all impacted guests regarding their options.

Regulations: All guests aged 18 and over will be required to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing. All guests aged 17 and below will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel. All guests will also require a negative Covid-19 test at the terminal. Appropriate social distancing in line with latest guidance for cruise lines. The requirement to wear a face mask, with no exceptions, in specific areas including the terminal, when moving around indoors on board, and when seated in the theatre. More information here.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has resumed sailing, with Disney Magic operating staycation cruises from UK ports and Disney Dream from Port Canaveral in Florida.

The line is currently preparing Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder to welcome guests once again and will share more information soon.

Regulations: Disney Magic at Sea sailings are for UK residents only. Guests aged 18 and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Guests under 18 must provide proof of a negative PCR test result prior to embarkation. All guests, including those who have been vaccinated, are also required to undergo an antigen Covid-19 rapid test prior to boarding. Daily temperature checks and health questionnaires will be required for all guests during the cruise. Masks are required in public areas. More information here.

Emerald Cruises

The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has started a limited number of European river cruises. All other river cruises and land tours have been suspended.

All guests with a booking scheduled to depart between July 1, 2021 and December 31 will receive a Future Travel Voucher (FTV) for the full amount that has been paid to date, valid for travel until June 2024.

Regulations: All guests are required to have received the required dose(s) of an approved Covid-19 vaccine. More information here.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has resumed sailing. New itineraries include a Welcome Back series of British Isles cruises, plus the Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, the Balearics and the Canary Islands.

Regulations: All guests must be full vaccinated and will have to wear a face mask when moving around inside the ship and where social distancing is not possible. They have introduced ‘social bubbles’ on board, allowing guests up to five companions with whom they can dine and drink with. More information here.

G Adventures

G Adventures has started a limited number of tours. All other G Adventures and National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures tours are suspended until September 30.

It says: “Our Book With Confidence policy lets you cancel and rebook a tour closer to the time of departure, giving you added flexibility and peace of mind. Until December 31, 2021, book travel with us departing before December 31, 2022, and you can cancel and rebook up to 14 days prior to your departure date.”

Regulations: Passengers on all trips departing on or after October 1, 2021 will be required to comply with G Adventures’ Travel-Ready policy, which requires either full Covid-19 vaccination with the final dose given at least 14 days prior to the start of the tour or the receipt of a negative PCR test within 96 hours prior to the start of your first welcome meeting. More information here.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line has restarted cruises from Greece, with sailings from Piraeus on Eurodam on sale now.

Regulations: Holland America Line cruises from Greece will be available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. More information here.


Hurtigruten has restarted its Norwegian coastal sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes. Its expedition cruises resume from October 6.

Regulations: Guests must show .  Face masks are required in public areas indoors, except when eating and drinking. More information here.

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has resumed operations with UK and international sailings.

It says: “We’ll be as flexible as we possibly can if Covid-19 means your cruise needs to be cancelled. We’re constantly reviewing the latest travel advice around the world and will work with you to take whatever the right action is for your particular circumstances. If you can’t sail due to not being vaccinated, you can change or cancel your booking for free.”

Regulations: Anyone aged 18-years and older will be required to have had both Covid-19 jabs at least seven days before travelling. Guests of all ages must also provide proof of a negative lateral flow test before boarding. More information here.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has restarted with a programme of British Isles cruises on board its flagship MSC Virtuosa departing from its new terminal in Southampton.

They also have updated itineraries in the Mediterranean and across Europe for the summer 2021 season, but until the end of September these are only available for residents of Schengen countries.

Regulations: All UK residents over 12 years of age will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before embarkation. Children between two and 11 years old will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before embarkation. In addition, all guests over two years of age will have to undergo an antigen test at the terminal upon embarkation, as well as a second test during the cruise. It is mandatory for all guests to have a comprehensive Covid insurance policy. More information here.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has resumed operations from Greece in July, with Spain and Italy following in September.

Itineraries from Seattle have also restarted, with other US and international ports following from this autumn on the following dates. Norwegian Joy (Miami, October 19); Norwegian Breakaway (New York, October 24); Pride of America (Honolulu, November 6); Norwegian Bliss (Los Angeles, November 7); Norwegian Encore (Miami, November 14); Norwegian Escape (Port Canaveral, November 20); Norwegian Pearl (Miami, December 23); Norwegian Jewel (Panama City, January 20, 2022); Norwegian Sun (Hong Kong, January 28, 2022); Norwegian Spirit (Sydney, February 9, 2022).

Regulations: For cruises up to October 31, guests will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding. Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has launched its SailSAFE Health and Safety Program, which includes enhanced health screening protocols and collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination. More information here.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises has resumed operations, with sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe on the 1,250-guest Marina from Copenhagen.

It has also announced that Riviera will resume cruises beginning with a sailing from Istanbul on October 18; Insignia will resume sailings with the December 21 Panama Canal voyage from Miami, before the sold-out 180-day Around the World cruise from Los Angeles to New York; Sirena will start sailings with the January 22, 2022 Caribbean voyage from Miami to Panama City.

“This is an exciting day for our guests and team members alike as we begin to prepare another three ships to resume sailing in Europe, the Caribbean, and the eagerly anticipated kickoff of our epic Around the World in 180 Days voyage for 2022,” said Bob Binder, President & CEO of Oceania Cruises.  

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least two weeks prior to embarkation, in order to board. All guests will be required to take Covid-19 antigen tests prior to boarding and disembarkation. Face coverings are currently required for guests while indoors and when physical distancing is not possible. More information here.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has restarted with a series of short-break and week-long UK cruises on its ships Britannia and Iona.

Their phased international restart plan continues for the remainder of 2021 and into early 2022. Following the UK summer staycations, Britannia will begin her planned western Mediterranean itineraries on September 25 and Iona will sail from Spain and Portugal from the same date.

Cruises on Ventura are paused until October 3; Azura until December 10; Arcadia until March 27, 2022; and Aurora until April 13, 2022.

Also, due to a lack of availability of charter aircraft on Caribbean routes,all seven and 14-night Britannia fly-cruises which start or end in St Lucia between October 2021 and March 2022 have been cancelled.Caribbean fly-cruise holidays starting and ending in Barbados are still going ahead as planned.

Regulations: The sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. Pre-embarkation Covid-19 tests may also be required. More information here.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises is hoping to restart from September 25.

Regulations: All guests will be asked to present proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test at embarkation and will undergo a health check and screening by the ship’s medical staff. More information here.


Ponant has restarted cruises around Iceland and in the Mediterranean.

Regulations: All guests must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure and a PCR test will be carried out before embarkation. Wearing a mask is mandatory when moving in all public areas. More information here.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises restarted with a series of Seacations from Southampton on board Regal Princess and Sky Princess. Sailings from US ports resume this month.

It says: “These resort-style Seacations offer the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy some time off. We believe that these cruises will appeal to both our loyal guests who are eager to get back onboard our beautiful MedallionClass ships and holidaymakers looking to experience Princess for the first time.”

Regulations: The Seacation sailings will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only. More information here.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises restarts with an 11-night round-trip cruise from Southampton on September 11 on board new ship Seven Seas Splendor.

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least two weeks prior to embarkation, in order to board. All guests will be required to take Covid-19 antigen tests prior to boarding and disembarkation. Face coverings are currently required for guests while indoors and when physical distancing is not possible. More information here.

Riviera Travel

Riviera Travel has resumed its European river cruises, but all six summer sailings on its ocean vessel, MS Seaventure, have been cancelled.

Regulations: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or to have presented a negative PCR test before travelling. More information here.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has restarted cruises in the Caribbean, the US and Europe, including a series of Ocean Getaways and British Isles Cruises from Southampton on board Anthem of the Seas.

The phased restart of its fleet will continue as follows: Liberty of the Seas (October 3, 2021 departing from Galveston, Texas); Spectrum of the Seas (October 5, departing from Hong Kong); Explorer of the Seas (November 7, departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico); Navigator of the Seas (November 19, departing from Los Angeles, California); Quantum of the Seas (December 1, departing from Singapore); Grandeur of the Seas (December 5, departing from Bridgetown, Barbados); Brilliance of the Seas (December 16, departing from Tampa, Florida); Enchantment of the Seas (December 23, departing from Baltimore, Maryland);  Vision of the Seas (January 24, 2022 departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida); Voyager of the Seas (April 24, 2022 departing from Copenhagen, Denmark); Radiance of the Seas (April 29, 2022 departing from Vancouver, Canada); Rhapsody of the Seas (May 23, 2022 departing from Civitavecchia, Italy)

Regulations: The cruises on Anthem of the Seas are only be available to UK residents over the age of 18 who are fully vaccinated. The line will publish more protocols as they are developed. Booked guests will be advised of their specific requirements before setting sail. More information here.


Saga Cruises has restarted with a series of UK itineraries on board Spirit of Discovery and new ship Spirit of Adventure and international sailings to Tallinn and Copenhagen.

Regulations: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated for Covid‑19 at least 14 days before boarding. The ships are operating at a reduced capacity to allow social distancing and the line has received the independent Shield+ accreditation from Lloyd’s Register. More information here.


The Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises has started a limited number of European river cruises. All other river cruises and land tours have been suspended.

All guests with a booking scheduled to depart between July 1, 2021 and December 31 will receive a Future Travel Voucher (FTV) for the full amount that has been paid to date, valid for travel until June 2024.

Regulations: All guests are required to have received the required dose(s) of an approved Covid-19 vaccine. More information here.


Seabourn has restarted cruises in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, with Seabourn Ovation sailing from Greece and Seabourn Odyssey from Barbados.

The remainder of the fleet resumes operations on the following dates: Seabourn Quest (November 7), Seabourn Sojourn (January 11, 2022), Seabourn Encore (April 17, 2022).

Regulations: All guests must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Seabourn is currently finalising its other Covid-19 protocols. More information here.


Silversea has restarted cruises in the Greek islands on Silver Moon; the Galápagos Islands on Silver Origin; Alaska on Silver Muse; Iceland on Silver Shadow; and Northern Europe on Silver Spirit.

Their remaining fleet returns to service on the following dates: Silver Explorer (November 10), Silver Cloud (November 14), Silver Whisper (November 17), Silver Dawn (November 19), Silver Wind (November 20).

It says: “As the world opens up, so too will our itineraries. We are looking forward to sailing with you again, and helping you get back to discovering the authentic beauty of the world in unwavering confidence.”

Regulations: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated and are required to take a Covid-19 test prior to boarding. Guests will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public areas, terminals and during shore excursions. More information here.


Titan has resumed tours and cruises.

It says: “We want to reassure you that the wellbeing of our customers and staff are of the utmost importance. As this is a fluid situation our team is working around-the-clock to ensure all updates are updated as quickly and as accurately as possible to ensure all travellers depart on holiday with confidence, in the knowledge that they are in safe hands with Titan.”

Regulations: A health declaration will be required and will be collected prior to boarding. Guests’ temperature will be checked before boarding using an infrared thermometer, and luggage will be sanitised. There will be a socially distanced boarding process. More information here.


Uniworld has resumed its European river cruises.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment and are beyond thrilled to be back on the rivers,” says Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “Our guests are like family to us, and their safety is our main priority, which is why we’re taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure they’re comfortable when they’re ready to explore the rivers with us again.”

Regulations: All guests on Uniworld cruises until December 31, 2021, are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel. Guests will be required to wear a mask while walking around public area. More information here.

Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises has restarted its ocean cruises with a series of Welcome Back voyages from Portsmouth, Valletta (Malta), Reykjavík and Bermuda. It has also resumed select river cruises in Europe.

It says: “With our new protocol enhancements in place, we believe there will be no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage and we look forward to welcoming UK guests back on board very soon.”

Regulations: All Viking sailings will be available exclusively for vaccinated guests until further notice. They may require a PCR test as part of the embarkation process. Physical distancing measures are in place in public areas on board, and face masks may be required for all guests and crew while moving about, depending on conditions at time of sailing. More information here.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has finally set sail with the Summer Soirée series of cruises along the south coast from Portsmouth on Scarlet Lady. From October the same vessel will be sailing to the Caribbean from PortMiami.

Regulations: All passengers must be over 18 and fully vaccinated at least 14 days beforehand. A Covid-19 antigen test may be required before boarding. The Summer Soirée sailings are for UK residents only. More information here.


Windstar Cruises has been restarting cruises in a phased manner, with the majority of its fleet now sailing again. Star Pride returns the Caribbean from November 3.

Regulations: Proof of a current Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before the embarkation date. A free Covid-19 antigen test will be administered prior boarding. More information here.


Editor’s letter

Cruising into a digital future

Over the summer, during lockdown, we dropped our print edition – and we’ve now made that move permanent. This, the November issue of Cruise Adviser – which is also our 50th edition – is the first on a new interactive platform which will allow us to incorporate video, audio and animations into the design, creating a unique proposition. 

As we wrote last time, we published the first print edition of Cruise Adviser in December 2014, in what feels like a lifetime ago. Anyone who has listened to us waffle on about the merits of perfect binding and offset paper will know that print is a big part of who we are – so we’ve not taken this decision lightly. But now is the right time – 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.

Although we are living through tough times – exacerbated by the new lockdown – there are reasons to be optimistic. With a new framework and commitment to testing, and the first ships – both big and small on ocean, and river – sailing again, we’re finally beginning to see what the future of cruise actually looks like. It will be a long, long time before things are back to ‘normal’, but we need to remain hopeful.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new edition and what more you’d like to see, so please do email We hope you enjoy reading – and good luck selling.


Get in touch

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

To view our 2021 media kit and forward features list, please click hereCruise Adviser is created by Waterfront Publishing. See for more details.


Anthony Pearce, director

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Sam Ballard, director

Bryan Johnson, senior sales manger
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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.

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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.”


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.

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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.


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.

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“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.


“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

Read our feature about safety protocols in this issue

Video: Watch Iona float out

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Last month, P&O Cruises welcomed Iona to its fleet following an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.

At 185,000 tonnes and 345m in length with 17 guest decks, Iona is the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market and also the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

P&O Cruises said it will “set new ground for guest experiences”, with a glass-roofed SkyDome, a gin distillery, new dining and entertainment concepts and wellbeing retreats.

Iona’s maiden season will be to Northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands from its home port of Southampton.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “Iona’s delivery is a very positive signal for the future of cruising. She is now officially part of the P&O Cruises fleet and we are focused on readying her to welcome guests during her new maiden season.

“Already eagerly anticipated by our guests, crew and the communities we visit, events this year have increased the sense of anticipation even more.

“While our operations are currently paused until early 2021, Iona will not be sailing for the moment, but we look forward to our guests experiencing this game-changing ship as we will continue to offer unparalleled holidays at sea while also upholding the latest approved travel protocols.”

Iona’s as-yet-unnamed sister ship will be delivered in December 2022.



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.”

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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.” 


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:

Promotion: Why cruise with NCL?

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NCL gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on a customisable dream cruise thanks to Free at Sea – pay £99pp on a seven-day cruise and choose two packages, including Open Bar and Speciality Dining. Our contemporary, dynamic 17-ship fleet offers exceptional dining, award-winning entertainment and innovative experiences from multi-level go kart tracks to 20,000-square foot observation lounges featuring 180-degree vistas. And our two Caribbean resort-style destinations set the benchmark for private island escapes.

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 or email to see the schedule of ‘We Are Alaska’ events and register for webinars and other activities.


“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.



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 and including 30 November 2020. It’s season has 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

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


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 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.


Incentives and events

Clia’s virtual ship tours; win cruises on Fred Olsen’s new ships

Episode two of Clia’s virtual ship tour series is screening on Thursday, November 12, between 9-10am, and features A-Rosa, MSC Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Tui Cruises. See more here.

P&O Cruises is offering all agents Double Shine Points for all bookings ‘made and spun’ before November 22.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is giving travel agents the opportunity to win one of six cruises for two on board its new ships, Bolette and Borealis. Agents must enter every new booking made on the company’s 2021, 2022 or 2023 programmes – on any ship – to be in with a chance of winning. The competition runs until November 30.

Royal Caribbean International’s latest Club Royal campaign gives £5 for interior or Oceanview bookings, £7.50 for Balcony bookings and £10 for Suites. Agents can receive this in addition to their commission by registering as Club Royal members and logging their bookings on the Club Rewards platform.

The line also recently launched a new MasterCard App, which allows agents to make payments using their rewards through Apple Pay, rather than using a physical credit card. To celebrate the launch of the digital MasterCard they are currently running a social media competition where agents can win an Apple Watch. To be in with a chance of winning, agents simply need to take a picture using the app and upload to social channels using #WatchOutRoyal. The competition closes on November 17.

As part of its Always Included concept, Celebrity Cruises will be doubling its Celebrity Rewards points when selling balcony accommodation and above through to the end of February.

New hires

Steve Smotrys joins Seabourn; Nick Stace named as Saga CEO

Virgin Voyages has recruited Andrea Jones, formerly of Princess Cruises, to support agents in the south of the UK. Jones replaces Gemma Smith, who left the line recently.

Steve Smotrys has been named as Seabourn’s new vice president, global sales. He replaces Chris Austin, previously head of global sales and marketing, who left earlier this month.

Smotrys was previously vice president of sales and trade marketing, Cunard North America. He joined Princess Cruises in 2000 and has worked for Carnival Corporation ever since, leading teams in revenue management, market planning, shore excursions and sales.

“Steve and I have worked closely together over the past several years. He brings a deep understanding of the luxury market and the travel industry,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. “Many of our travel advisor partners know Steve well and we encourage them to join us in welcoming Steve to the Seabourn family.”

Saga has appointed Nick Stace as CEO of its travel business. Stace, who is currently Saga’s chief strategy officer, will take up the new role with immediate effect. He will now oversee Saga’s cruise and tours business as well as retain responsibility for strategy. Stace replaces Robin Shaw who left Saga in June. Before joining Saga, Stace was CEO of The Prince’s Trust. He has also held senior roles at Which? and ran the strategic communication function for Gordon Brown when he was prime minister.

Abta has appointed Graeme Buck as its new director of communications. Buck, who joined the team on November 2, was previously head of communications at Waitrose & Partners. He replaces Victoria Bacon, Abta’s director of brand and business development, who left the association earlier in the year. Commenting on the appointment, Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome Graeme to the senior team at Abta. His experience of communications in a rapidly changing consumer environment, and his work on corporate responsibility, will both be relevant to the challenges and opportunities facing Abta’s Members.”

Celestyal Cruises has hired Emma Paxton as its business development manager for Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. Paxton has previously worked for Royal Caribbean, SeaWorld, Universal and Tui. She will report into Jo Reid, the company’s UK & Ireland country manager and work alongside Penny Moschidou, commercial assistant; and Rebecca Witte, marketing executive for Western and Northern Europe.


The return of river cruise

By Anthony Pearce
Earlier in the year, a number of continental cruise lines returned to the rivers of France, Germany and beyond, establishing the blueprint for a wider return

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In July, amid increasing confusion created by changing advice from the Foreign Office, it was established that British holidaymakers could, in theory, take a river cruise – while ocean cruises remained off the cards. The reality – as we’ve often found with the travel corridors list, which is slowly dwindling down until nothing remains – is that it was rarely possible, with government advice, both home and abroad, changing frequently and cruise lines also imposing their own restrictions.

When a series of smaller, ocean-going lines returned to the waters around the same time and cases followed (although in very small numbers), there was some murmuring to be heard that these lines had gone back too early and risked impacting confidence in the wider industry. Since these early setbacks, however, the lines and other have run successful itineraries, with two MSC Cruises ships – by far the largest to date – returning to much fanfare, and Quantum of the Seas set to set sail for the Singaporean market soon.

Yet few people were talking about what was happening on the rivers, as inland cruises were given the green light by French and German governments, and various cruises lines – AmaWaterways, CroisiEurope and Nicko Cruises among them – quietly welcomed guests back on board. At the time, Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer spoke of a “gradual, phased-in approach to resumption of cruise operations across Europe, initially domestic and regional”.

“We were one of the first river cruise lines to resume sailing back in June 2020 and, for over four months now, we’ve successfully been sailing some of Europe’s most beautiful rivers,” says Lucia Rowe, managing director at A-Rosa River Cruises UK & Ireland. “We were in a slightly different position to many river cruise lines, as we were one of a handful who had briefly started the 2020 season in early March when Covid-19 [emerged]. These select few lines understood the importance of preparing for what was ahead and adopted a new set of safety and hygiene protocols very early in the year. When the crisis fully hit, and once all guests and crew were safely back in their home destinations, river cruise lines had time to develop these enhanced protocols even further and be at the forefront for when they could restart.”

Safety measures have varied line to line, but not wildly. A-Rosa, which operates ships which are larger than your average river ship, with the likes of A-Rosa Donna carrying up to 206 guests, introduced social distancing protocols for the entire ship; enhanced cleaning procedures; the wearing of mouth and nose coverings in some public spaces; pre-screening and temperature checks prior to embarkation; meals served at tables at set times, and reduced capacity on excursions. With river cruises, the interiors of ships may vary greatly from line to line, but the shells of the vessels are often very similar, or many cases the same – meaning the lines who are yet to return have already seen how river cruise in the age of Covid-19 will work. It would be crass to call these June and July sailings dress rehearsals, but it’s true that the early returners have done a lot of the hard work for other lines.

One of these early returners was Viva Cruises, which offers a variety of cruises along Europe’s great rivers including the Danube, Elbe, Rhine and Rhône. The Düsseldorf-based cruise line was only founded in 2018, but is owned by the family behind river cruise operator Scylla AG, which runs a fleet of river ships for various European charter clients, including Nicko Cruises, Tauck and Riviera Travel – allowing us to see how the hardware allows social distancing and other protocols to work.

“While the situation in Europe continues to evolve, having a ship cruise the Rhine over the past three months has allowed us to play an industry-leading role in the safe adaptation of health and safety protocols and to show our travel partners and guests that it is possible to implement these precautions without diminishing the wonderful river cruise experience,” says Rudi Schreiner, co-founder of AmaWaterways, which has been operating one ship for the German market. He says that guests understand that important health and safety protocols are for the protection of everyone and have been co-operative and respectful. “Due to Covid-19, the traditional buffet concept for breakfast and lunch has been replaced on our ship by an enhanced menu selection and full table service. The transition away from a buffet set-up has been so successful that we are already incorporating this higher level of personalised service into new restaurant design concepts for our future ships. Our crew are so proud to have been selected to sail this special charter programme and, despite face coverings, they have discovered new ways to establish the warm connection with our guests. We have no doubt that these protocols and procedures, that create layers of protection and reassurance, will work just as smoothly for our English-speaking guests as they have for guests coming from the German-speaking markets.”

Another line, CroisiEurope, which has made a name for itself by pioneering less-traversed rivers, introduced pre-travel health questionnaires; regular temperature checks for guests and crew; daily ship deep cleaning; social distancing and waiter service meal sittings on its ships. Like A-Rosa, awareness of the line has grown in the UK in recent years – and it will be welcoming a number of Brits on board once travel advice allows.

One interesting piece of information revealed by Rowe is the number of ocean guests who have come across to river – suggesting an appetite to get back out on the water regardless of where that is. “Since we restarted sailing we’ve seen more ocean cruisers giving river a try. Our recent customer surveys have shown that around 70 per cent of our guests on board have some kind of ocean experience,” she says. “Traditionally there was not much cross over between ocean and river customers as it was felt that the offering was very different. However, while we are wholeheartedly hoping that ocean cruising is able to make a full return soon, it is encouraging to see that those who want to get back on the water right now are giving river a try.”


What safe cruising looks like

From nightly sanitation and cleaning measures to face-coverings, social distancing and testing, cruise lines have had to go above and beyond in their safety protocols. It’s exactly what’s needed for guests to return, writes Anthony Pearce.

If 2020 has been the most challenging year in modern history for the travel industry as a whole, cruise has felt the shock even more acutely. While in February we worried about the reputational damage cruise might suffer as the first ships were caught up in the pandemic, by March we realised the impact would be felt immediately as borders were closed and itineraries were cancelled. Of course, we spent the next few months thinking ahead to a summer return, but it soon became clear that in most cases, that wasn’t to be. It became a time for reflection and, crucially, planning.

Over summer, we conducted several surveys with our audience that demonstrated the challenges travel agents face in this climate, but most illuminating was the feedback from former guests. Although desperate to get back on board, they wanted to know how social distancing and other protocols would work in practice, what would happen in the event of an outbreak and whether new measures would impact their overall enjoyment of the cruises, particularly in terms of what features, such as buffets, would have to be closed. We now have many of those answers, with the likes of MSC Cruises having returned to the seas along with a host of small ships and river lines (see Return of river cruise, in this issue), putting the industry in a strong position for the all-important January.

Although cruise lines have individually revealed their safety protocols, perhaps the most significant milestone on the journey back to something like full service came last month, as Clia revealed that its ocean members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100 per cent testing of guests and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more guests. The association said that a negative test was required for any embarkation, with a spokesperson noting: “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.” You can read Andy Harmer’s thoughts on this in Comment, in this issue).

The week before that announcement, Clia and the UK Chamber of Shipping created a new framework for cruise ship operators to begin sailing again safely, and shared the documents with the UK government. The new framework is based on published guidance from national and international authorities including the World Health Organization and International Maritime Organization. The detailed documents for operators and crew lists a series of risk mitigations, including physical signage or markings showing the minimum distance people should be from one another; limiting the number of passengers in certain venues to allow for social distancing to be achieved; encouraging time spent outside on deck; updating seating arrangements to facilitate social distancing; changing the layout of walkways and lifts; waiter-only seated service for meals and bar. Harmer called it a “culmination of extensive dialogue and collaboration by representatives from across the maritime sector working together with government and national health authorities.” The full framework can be seen here.

Part of the nightly deep clean on MSC Cruises (Credit: Riccardo Fani)

To look at what that means in theory, the line to look towards is MSC Cruises, which now has MSC Grandiosa in operation for Schengen-area guests only. Key to the return has been the creation of a “social bubble”, it says. Its safety protocols include universal health screening of everyone – guests and crew – which includes tests for Covid-19 before they can board a ship; elevated sanitation and cleaning measures throughout the vessel; managed social distancing; wearing of face masks in public areas; while the ships’ capacity has also been reduced to 70 per cent to ensure social distancing can be guaranteed on board.

Furthermore, the MSC for Me app will support and facilitate the measures, the line said. On MSC Grandiosa, every guest and crew member will be provided with the complimentary wristband, which facilitates contactless transactions around the ship as well as providing contact and proximity tracing. Guests will be encouraged to wear it at all times, while Zoe, the in-cabin virtual assistant will mean guests can get answers to questions without the need to go to guest services.

Another significant moment in the return to full sailing came in October when Aida Cruises, Carnival Corporation’s German brand, has resumed cruise operations, joining Costa Cruises, Carnival’s Italian brand, which is now operating three ships. Testing, regular temperature and health checks and social distancing guidelines, as well as managed shore excursions, are among protocols introduced – paving the way for Carnival to do the same across its US and UK brands. In Singapore, where Genting and Royal Caribbean (with Quantum of the Seas) are set to resume there is a CruiseSafe standard. Once again, this includes mandatory testing test prior to boarding and strict and frequent cleaning and sanitisation protocols onboard, and “ensuring 100 per cent fresh air throughout the ship”.

As we can see, broadly, the safe protocols fall into six or seven categories: face coverings; enhanced cleaning; social distancing; table service; testing; ventilation and capacity reduction. In the case of the latter, as we have seen with river, this impacts excursions, with guests spread into smaller groups over more coaches, while the much-loved cruise buffet has been closed on many ships, meaning guests can maintain social distancing while sat at their tables. The ‘flow’ of ships – that is how guests get around it – has long been important in their design, determining whether a vessel can feel too busy or just right. It’s now more crucial than ever.

Social distancing at the pool on MSC Cruises (Credit: Riccardo Fani)

Of course, testing is not watertight, particularly with guests getting on and off the ships. As a demonstration of the logistical issues cruise lines face, in August, after a guest tested positive for Covid-19 upon returning home to Denmark, all guests and crew were forced to quarantine on board SeaDream I during the following itinerary. Cruise lines will need to act decisively when there are cases on board –  and quarantine and testing will play a huge part of this. Hurtigruten, which recorded cases on board MS Roald Amundsen in July after returning to the seas (and continues to investigate the outbreak), has introduced testing for guests and crew before embarkation on our expedition cruises; a contactless fever scan to record guests’ temperature; social distancing, made possible through a reduction in capacity; and face masks or face shields for all crew in public areas on board the ships.

How cruise lines deal with outbreaks will be critical, given one of the great challenges in the early days of the outbreak was docking. In March, Holland America Line’s president Orlando Ashford accused countries of turning their backs on thousands of people, as Zaandam returned to the US through Central America, with four people on board dying from Covid-19 during the journey; and while Cuba offered a safe haven for the coronavirus-hit Braemar, it was among a host of ships that other Caribbean nations wouldn’t let dock. Cruise lines will need to act decisively when there are cases on board, and quarantine and testing will play a huge part of this – but so will diplomacy.

It’s fair to say that, because of the time guests spend on board and the impact the pandemic has had on the image of cruise as whole, operators have had to go above and beyond to ensure that cruises not only are safe, but that guests are confident of that. There is no magic bullet – everything with coronavirus is about assessing and mitigating risks – but cruise lines have worked hard to establish framework that allows for the safe resumption of cruising. With January around the corner, it couldn’t have come at a better time.


The best itineraries of 2021

After a year to forget, Sam Ballard looks ahead to some of the most exciting cruise itineraries for 2021, showcasing the newest ships and most far-flung destinations

It doesn’t need overstating, but 2020 has not been a year to get away and explore the world. However, we’re not alone in hoping that what has been 2020’s loss will be 2021’s gain. According to luxury operator Kuoni, guests are looking at “saving and upgrading” for next year, which means bigger holidays to more faraway destinations. While that’s where we’re setting the bar with our best itineraries of 2021, we’ve also included some shorter cruises to showcase the industry’s newest ships, the perfect chance to convert first-timers.

P&O Cruises

Norwegian Fjords – seven nights
Departure dates: Throughout the summer, but we’ve chosen the 21 August sailing
Destinations: Norway
Ship: Iona
Prices: £729 per person
Why? Iona is the biggest ship ever built for the UK market and packs a real punch. This sailing, which takes place during the summer holidays, means the whole family can enjoy everything the ship has to offer, from Ocean Studios, the four-screen cinema, to the SkyDome – an incredible new venue to enjoy both day and night.


Icelandic Adventure
Departure dates: June 19, 2021
Destinations: Iceland
Ship: Spirit of Adventure
Prices: From £3,319 per person
Why? This 14-night circumnavigation of Iceland will be a sailing to remember. Departing from Dover, guests will call at Orkney before arriving in Seydisfjordur, on Iceland’s east coast. From there they will travel anti-clockwise around one of the most ruggedly beautiful islands in the world.

Virgin Voyages

French Daze and Ibiza Nights
Departure dates: May 9, 2021
Destinations: Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Ibiza
Ship: Valiant Lady
Prices: From £2,300 per person
Why? Virgin Voyages’ second ship, Valiant Lady, will be based in the Mediterranean, meaning guests won’t have to travel to the US to get on board. This sailing includes overnight stays in Ibiza and Monte Carlo – the perfect party cruise.


Southern Scandinavia – Archipelagos, fjords and quaint fishing towns
Departure dates: From Dover, June 20, July 18 and August 27, 2021
Destinations: Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway
Ship: MS Maud
Prices: Starting from £3,199 per person
Why? Join this 15-night roundtrip from Dover on board Hurtigruten’s MS Maud on the line’s inaugural season out of the UK. Few companies know Norway like Hurtigruten, which has more than 100 years of experience sailing the famous fjords.

Viking River Cruises

Pharaohs and Pyramids
Departure dates: January 1, 2021
Destinations: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan
Ship: Viking Osiris
Prices: From £6,355 per person
Why? Viking Osiris is set to be the newest vessel on the Nile and will mimic the company’s beautiful European Longships. This is the chance to explore one of the world’s great ancient civilisations, on the famous river’s most modern ship.


Incredible Iberian Discovery
Departure dates: April 11, 2021
Destinations: Lisbon, Seville, Tangier, Cartagena, Barcelona
Ship: Scenic Eclipse
Prices: From £4,425 per person
Why? Scenic Eclipse’s first foray into the Mediterranean will begin with this nine-day sailing from Lisbon to Barcelona. While on board, your client will be able to take a ride in one of the ship’s submersibles or jump on one of the onboard helicopters – for the holiday of a lifetime.

Royal Caribbean International

Three-night weekend Getaway
Departure dates: April 2, 2021
Destinations: Bruges and Rotterdam
Ship: Odyssey of the Seas
Prices: From £453 per person
Why? Royal’s newest ship – and first Quantum ultra-class vessel – will be running two mini-cruises out of Southampton before it transitions down to the Mediterranean. This is a great chance to get any new-to-cruise customers onboard and see what one of the most innovative cruise lines in the world has come up with.

Crystal Cruises

The Northeast Passage
Departure dates: August 18, 2021
Destination highlights: Wrangel Island, Siberia, Tromsø
Ship: Crystal Endeavor
Prices: From $100,998 per person (two-for-one offers available)
Why? This epic 29-night adventure is on board the highly anticipated Crystal Endeavor,Crystal Cruises’ first expedition vessel. The itinerary takes guests to the islands of Siberia and Severnaya Zemlya, the last charted place on Earth.


12-day inaugural Norway, Northern Lights & North Cape
Departure dates: December 11, 2021
Destination highlights: Greenwich, Bergen, Ålesund
Ship: Seabourn Venture
Prices: From £11,799 per person
Why? A very rare opportunity indeed – a chance to sail out of Greenwich on board Seabourn’s first expedition vessel, Seabourn Venture. Explore the Norwegian Fjords, Lofoten Islands and Honningsvåg – the most northerly point on mainland Europe – in the absolute lap of luxury.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Borealis’ six-night S2107 ‘Scottish Lochs & Isles’ maiden cruise
Departure dates: April  23, 2021
Destination highlights: Liverpool, Belfast, Scottish Highlands
Ship: Borealis
Prices: From £929 per person
Why? Departing from Liverpool, this is the maiden voyage of Borealis, one of two ships to join the Fred Olsen fleet in 2021. This sailing calls at some of Scotland’s most picturesque islands before heading back to Liverpool, via Belfast.