This is the first installment of my column where I’ll cover the week’s events in a cruise recovery. Usually, I will do a recap of the previous week and then go into a recap of the next week, but I found that it is almost too much leg work to do a recap for every week. I’ll still do it, but it will be a column that only covers the week that’s in it. So, for this column, I’ll just cover the week that’s in it, which is the week after the cruise recovery.
A bit of cruise recovery this week, as the first major weather front of the hurricane season finally makes landfall. Not to worry, though: the worst of the storm will be behind us within a day or two. Next up, Florida and Texas.
The cruise ship recovery news last week was mostly positive, with the bulk of the ship’s passenger list being evacuated and the remaining passengers being moved to other ships. That means that the first cruise ship, Costa Concordia, has finally been successfully turned into scrap metal. And the list of future cruise ship start-ups has also been bolstered by a recent investment by CMA CGM, the shipping company that owns the Queen Mary 2, the world’s largest cruise ship.A big “cruise restart” step was taken earlier this month. The first large cruise ship to restart cruising in North America—Celebrity Millennium—set sail from St. Maarten, and is now operating Caribbean voyages through August.
Late in the cruise two passengers tested positive for COVID-19, but the good news is that all other passengers (in the ballpark of 600 or so) took routine antigen tests onboard in advance of their U.S. re-entry and all tested negative. The consensus of guests was that the vaccines made the difference for their safety, although the two passengers who tested positive also had been vaccinated. Travel Agent felt the onboard testing set-up was quick to navigate for guests and very well-orchestrated.
Most notably, the guest and crew vibe on Celebrity Millennium was extremely positive; it seemed “a normal cruise” in most ways, given guest and travel advisor feedback.
Good News on U.S. Restart
It was a positive week too on the “planned restart from U.S. ports” as MSC Cruises announced it will set sail in August from PortMiami and Port Canaveral, FL. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the cruise company’s “Phase 2A Port Agreements” for both those ports. The CDC also gave provisional approval of MSC’s request to conduct a simulation cruise on MSC Meraviglia from PortMiami on July 17, 2024.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras
In addition, Carnival Cruise Line announced it would restart cruises from Galveston. Most notably, that line’s new Mardi Gras—the first LNG-powered cruise ship that will operate from the U.S.—sailed into U.S. waters. The line announced restart plans for the ship from Port Canaveral, FL.
River Cruise News
The Globus family of brands, which includes Avalon Waterways, announced a vaccine mandate for all guests. With this new policy, all travelers ages 12 and older will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, completed at least 14-days prior to embarkation. The requirement will last until October 31, 2024 for all international vacations departing July 15 or later.
On Site: Celebrity Millennium’s New Features and Dining
Royal Caribbean Announces Return of Cruising From U.S.
MSC Cruises Resuming Operations in Spain Starting June 26
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