It has been more than a year since the first cruise ship hit the water and nearly a year since the first cruise ship docked in the United States. Since then, the cruise industry has only grown. Cruise lines have launched several new ships and expanded existing portfolios, and their reach has extended beyond the oceans to the streets and skies as well as the streets and skies. With more than 10 million passengers on board, more than 10,000 shoreside locations at more than 2,000 ports, and more than 1,000 ships, the cruise industry is one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. economy.
The cruise market has been slow to rebound since the 2008 financial crisis. The industry was not able to rebound as quickly as some other sectors, some of which have seen a rebound even since the 2008 financial crisis. The primary cause of the industry’s decline is the cost of fuel, which has risen significantly since 2008.
The cruise industry is notorious for trying to get travelers to spend more on their vacations, but more people are staying home these days, which is bad news for the cruise industry.
It’s often difficult to recall how we got to where we are now, as the cruise industry shutdown continues to have a worldwide effect.
Nobody could have predicted how severe the present health crisis would become, much alone how it would affect every area of our life, it’s fair to say.
(Carnival Cruise Line provided this image.)
Those who do not recall history, however, are said to be condemned to repeat it. So, in order to ensure that we never forget about the cruise industry shutdown, we’ve put together a comprehensive chronology of what happened in 2020 and 2021, even as the sector starts to recover.
Do you want to look at a certain point in the timeline? Simply choose the appropriate month from the drop-down menu.
1st of January 2020 | In February of 2020, | The deadline is March 2020. | April in the next year | May 2020 | June 2020 | July 2020 | In August of 2020, | In September of 2020, | In October of 2020, | In November of 2020, | In December of 2020, | January in the year 2021 | February in the year 2021 | March of the year 2021 | April in the year 2021 | May 2021 | June 2021 | July 2021 | August in the next year | September in the next year | October 2020 | November 2020 | December 2020 | January 2021 | February 2021 | March 2021 | April 2021 | May 2021 | June 2021 | July 2021 | August 2021 |
The month of December 2019
- With indications of 27 afflicted individuals in the city of Wuhan, the first reports of a new virus began to emerge from China. Although it was subsequently discovered that the illness had originated and spread earlier in other areas of the globe, Wuhan is still often regarded as Ground Zero owing to the high number of cases that ultimately emerged there.
The cruise sector in Hong Kong shut down in January, making it one of the first ports to be affected by the Coronavirus.
- The first infected patient in the United States has been identified as a man citizen of Washington state who just returned from China.
- Cruise companies are canceling sailings out of China and suspending port visits there.
- The new coronavirus epidemic has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.
- Alex Azar, the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, announces a Public Health Emergency. “While this virus presents a significant public health concern, the risk to the American people is now minimal, and we are trying to keep it that way,” adds Azar.
- Non-US nationals who have visited China during the past 14 days would not be allowed to enter the United States, according to President Donald Trump. On February 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. ET, the prohibition will take effect.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is now trading at $43.53, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is trading at $117.08, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is trading at $58.41.
In February 2020, Diamond Princess became the epicenter of the virus’s effect on the cruise industry (Photo via Princess)
- The new coronavirus has been found in an 80-year-old traveler who departed Diamond Princess in Hong Kong a week ago.
- The Westerdam of Holland America Line sets off from Hong Kong on a 14-night trip.
- After numerous complaints of respiratory ailments aboard, the Diamond Princess has been confined off the coast of Japan. There would be 218 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus aboard by February 13th. The number of confirmed cases would reach 542 by February 18th.
- The Westerdam is not allowed to dock in Japan, where it will make its first stop.
- The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has called the new coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the illness produced by the outbreak COVID-19: CO (corona) VI (virus) D (disease) and 19 for the year it first emerged in 2019.
- The Westerdam has been granted permission to dock in Cambodia and unload passengers. This follows the ship’s refusal to dock at Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, or Thailand. On the ship, there are no verified instances.
- Passengers with symptoms began to depart on the Diamond Princess. The majority of US citizens are transported home on charter aircraft to military facilities in California and Texas for a 14-day quarantine period.
- Princess Cruises has confirmed that the last of the Diamond Princess guests has departed, leaving just around 500 staff members on board. In the following days, the remaining passengers will be disembarked to charter aircraft or a local quarantine facility. Once the final crew member has departed, a special team boards the ship to begin disinfection operations.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is now trading at $33.46, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is trading at $80.41, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is trading at $37.26.
The Zaandam of Holland America Lines transits the Panama Canal on its way to Florida as the epidemic grows aboard (Photo: Panama Canal Twitter)
- The White House coronavirus task group, led by Vice President Mike Pence, has announced improved pre- and post-cruise screening measures for cruise passengers, as well as recommendations for passengers who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
- The US State Department issued a warning that US citizens should avoid going on cruise ships, saying that they offer a greater risk of coronavirus infection, only a day after the Trump administration unveils stricter screening procedures for cruise passengers.
- Regal Princess is being held off the coast of Florida by the US Centers for Disease Control until two crew members are tested for the virus. When the ship receives negative findings later that evening, it docks.
- In Sydney, the Ruby Princess disembarks 2,700 passengers, including 158 sick people; 2,700 additional passengers join the ship headed for New Zealand.
- Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, has recommended people against using cruise ships.
- A pandemic is formally declared by the World Health Organization. Viking Trips has announced that all river and ocean cruises would be suspended until May 1, 2020, making them the first cruise company to do so.
- Princess Cruises has announced a 60-day hiatus in service, which will begin immediately.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings borrows $1.55 billion from a credit line backed by Norwegian Epic.
- President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency.
- At the request of President Trump and in collaboration with the Cruise Lines International Association, the surviving major cruise lines have announced a “voluntary” halt in operations for at least 30 days. The majority of cruise lines have said that they plan to start sailing in mid-April.
- Carnival borrows $3 billion from its credit lines “in order to strengthen its cash position and maintain financial flexibility in view of current market uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”
- Cruise ships carrying more than 500 people are prohibited from entering Canadian ports until at least July 1, 2020.
- The Cruise Line International Association’s “voluntary” halt in cruise operations comes shortly before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a 30-day “no-sail order” for ships carrying 250 passengers or more going to or from the United States.
- At least 15 people on board the Ruby Princess have suffered flu-like symptoms, according to reports. All passengers are requested to complete a survey about their personal symptoms, but they are not informed that there are suspected cases aboard.
- After Argentina closed its ports to cruise passengers, Holland America Line’s Zaandam was refused permission to dock at Ushuaia. The ship tries to return to its former port in Punta Arenas, Chile, but is denied permission to dock. The ship and its passengers are about to go on a week-long journey.
- Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that from March 30, salaried employees would get a 20% salary reduction and a four-day workweek.
- The stock of Norway has dropped to a 52-week low of $7.03 per share. The shares of Royal Caribbean has dropped to a 52-week low of $19.25.
- Despite at least 100 passengers experiencing flu-like symptoms, the Ruby Princess is permitted to unload all 2,700 passengers at Sydney. All passengers are advised to self-isolate for 14 days, yet many take flights home. One passenger is brought to the hospital immediately after being sick, while two others report to the hospital for tests after becoming ill. On board the ship, one crew member is confined.
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, servers aboard the Diamond Princess transmitted the virus to other passengers.
- Four passengers on the Ruby Princess’ most recent voyage tested positive for the virus, according to reports.
- When it becomes apparent that the Zaandam will not be able to dock and unload passengers in South America, the ship sets sail towards Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is the ship’s ultimate destination. Passengers hear coughing in the theater that night, and staff workers are seen cleaning a cabin using masks for the first time.
- Allowing Ruby Princess passengers to leave without testing or other procedures to ensure none were positive for COVID-19 was a mistake, according to Australian health officials.
- Guests aboard the Zaandam are being restricted to their cabins since the Captain says that 13 passengers and 29 staff members have flu-like symptoms. Because no testing kits are available aboard, it is difficult to verify whether any of the passengers are affected.
- The Rotterdam of Holland America Line will meet the Zaandam near the coast of Panama, bringing more crew, medical supplies, and, most critically, COVID-19 testing. At least 30 passengers and 40 staff members have been sick as a result of the incident.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. takes out a $2.2 billion loan to assist the company get through the industry closure.
- When the two ships meet, Holland America plans to transfer approximately 800 passengers who are not experiencing symptoms from Zaandam to Rotterdam. The Rotterdam crew is worried that there aren’t enough tests to establish if the passengers being moved are negative, and fears that the transfer may put them in danger.
- One former Ruby Princess passenger, a 70-year-old lady, dies in a Sydney hospital after testing positive for.
- Four Zaandam passengers have died, two others have tested positive, and 138 people aboard are sick, according to Holland America. The ship is unable to pass through the Panama Canal due to the two confirmed cases, putting the plan to cruise to Port Everglades in jeopardy. Passengers who are not experiencing any symptoms are being transferred to Rotterdam.
- Cruise ships with more than 100 passengers are prohibited from entering Australia until June 17, 2020.
- Both Zaandam and Rotterdam will pass the Panama Canal tonight after Panama changes its decision to stop the ships.
- Zaandam’s request for two severely sick passengers to be airlifted to Mexico has been rejected.
- Governor Ron DeSantis is reluctant to allow the two Holland America Line ships to dock at Port Everglades as they approach Florida. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to unload ill people in an already sickly neighborhood.
- The South Florida Sun-Sentinel publishes an op-ed by Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford appealing with Florida to allow the ships to dock.
- The Broward County Commission discusses for five hours whether the ships should be permitted to land at Port Everglades as the number of confirmed positive cases aboard the Zaandam and Rotterdam rises to nine and the number of staff and passengers with flu-like symptoms rises to 233.
- President Trump expresses his desire to see a settlement, and Governor DeSantis relents, allowing both ships to land at Port Everglades.
- Carnival Corporation’s stock ends at $13.17, down from its January 17, 2020 high of $51.90; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s stock closes at $32.17, down from the peak of $135.05 in January; and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ stock finishes at $10.96, down from the peak of $59.65 in January.
TIMELINE: The Holland America Line Ship Receives Docking Permits
The epidemic in Australia was blamed on Ruby Princess, prompting a criminal investigation. Princess Cruises has been found not guilty of any misconduct. (Picture credit: Princess Cruises)
- Royal Caribbean will lay off 26% of its 5,000-strong US staff, with executives agreeing to accept a 25% pay reduction until September, and Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, will forego his basic income at this time.
- A nine-page agreement detailing how to safely disembark passengers and transfer them home or to medical facilities is signed after a full day of negotiations between Carnival Corporation and Port Everglades representatives, allowing the Zaandam to dock around 6 p.m., with Rotterdam following 30 minutes later. Four corpses are retrieved from the ship, and 14 severely sick people are transported by ambulance to the hospital. Over the following several days, the remaining passengers will depart.
- Carnival Corporation & PLC obtain $6 billion in secured financing. Carnival stock bottoms at a 52-week low of $7.80 per share.
- The Ruby Princess is the subject of a criminal inquiry in Australia, which is looking into why 2,700 people were permitted to leave at Sydney.
- It is revealed that Saudi Arabia’s “Sovereign Wealth Fund” purchased 43.5 million shares in Carnival Corporation & PLC.
- As part of the criminal investigation, Australian police execute a nighttime raid aboard Ruby Princess, taking the ship’s “black box” data recorder and other documents.
- The CDC has extended the no-sail order for another 100 days, guaranteeing that no cruise activity will take place in the United States until at least July 24, 2020.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is $15.90, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is $46.77, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is $16.40.
Alaska cruises usually begin in May, and Canada Place in Vancouver, Canada is a popular embarkation point. Due to the Canadian government’s ban on big ship calls for most of 2020, the port will not see any ships.
- Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings raises $6 billion in new funding, claiming that it can continue to operate for at least a year even if ships do not return to service.
- Carnival Corporation & PLC announces layoffs or furloughs for over 3,000 shoreside employees from the Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line brands.
- MSC Cruises has laid off 128 workers in the United States.
- The cruise ship prohibition in Australia has been extended until September 17, 2020.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is $15.74, Royal Caribbean Cruises is $51.87, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is $16.07.
Monarch, a former Royal Caribbean ship, has been decommissioned due to the closure of Spanish company Pullmantur Cruises. In July, the ship will be scrapped. (Picture courtesy of Pullmantur Cruises)
- In Norway, the Hurtigruten ship MS Finnmarken restarts coastal voyages.
- Cruise companies that are members of the CLIA have suspended US sailings until September 15, 2020.
- SeaDream Yacht Club, a luxury company, has resumed trips in Norway.
- Pullmantur, a Spanish cruise company owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to the tune of 49 percent, declares bankruptcy.
- Costa Victoria, the first ship to be scrapped as a result of the pandemic, arrives at a scrapyard in Piombino, Italy.
- More than 1,000 Zaandam passengers file a class-action lawsuit against Carnival Corporation & PLC, demanding significant changes to the way their ships operate in addition to monetary damages. The lawsuit is just one of dozens filed against major cruise operators related to the pandemic and its aftermath.
- Hurtigruten’s new ship, Fridjtof Nansen, will begin adventure ocean sailing.
- The shares of Carnival Corporation is $15.74, Royal Caribbean Cruises is $50.30, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is $16.43.
In our ‘Last Look’ series, we look at ships that have been scrapped:
In July, the Carnival Fantasy was sold for scrap, one of several older cruise ships that were sold or destroyed during the cruise shutdown.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have joined forces to form the Healthy Sail Panel, which will bring together physicians, scientists, government officials, and cruise industry leaders to offer suggestions on how to revive the sector.
- Carnival Corporation & PLC CEO Arnold Donald says the company will be selling at least 13 ships across its portfolio of cruise lines.
- Hurtigruten ships, including the Roald Amundsen, have resumed operation, providing adventure and coastal cruises.
- Holland America Line sells four cruise ships to other cruise lines: Amsterdam, Maasdam, Rotterdam, and Veendam. Seajets, a Greek ferry company, purchases the Maasdam and Veendam, while Fred.Olsen Cruises purchases Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
- The CDC has extended the cruise ship no-sail order until September 30, 2020.
- With charter sailings onboard AmaKristina, AmaWaterways becomes the first major river cruise company to return to operation.
- Costa Cruises has announced that the Costa neoRomantica would be sold to Celestyal Cruises of Europe.
- Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration would be demolished in Turkey, as reported by the media.
- The former Royal Caribbean and Pullmantur ships Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas have been beached at Aliaga, Turkey, and will be destroyed.
At a scrapyard in Turkey, the Carnival Fantasy is awaiting destruction. (Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
- Muster 2.0, a virtual, personalized muster instruction procedure based on Royal Caribbean’s proprietary EMUSTER technology, will replace conventional group muster exercises.
- The Explorer Dream of Dream Cruises departs from Taiwan, making it the first cruise from Asia since the worldwide industry shut down.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has opened a 60-day public comment period, asking the general public as well as cruise and health professionals to weigh in on how and whether cruising can be brought back safely.
- Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen says that four crew members have tested positive and have been removed from the ship only two weeks after returning to duty.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is now trading at $13.88, Royal Caribbean Cruises is trading at $48.71, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is trading at $16.34.
The MSC Grandiosa is set to leave from Genoa on August 16, the first big cruise ship to do so as Europe’s cruise industry steadily recovers (photo via MSC Cruises)
- COVID-19 has been detected in 32 more Roald Amundsen crew members.
- UnCruise Adventures, a small-ship adventure cruise company, has surprised the industry by announcing a series of five Alaska sailings on the US-flagged Wilderness Adventurer, avoiding the requirement for a Canadian port call.
- In the wake of the Roald Amundsen outbreak, Hurtigruten has halted all trips on the Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, and one additional ship.
- The suspension of operation has been extended by CLIA members and other major cruise companies until October 31, 2020.
- MSC Cruises has issued a policy for European cruises, which includes mask requirements and the prohibition of guests walking ashore except on ship-sponsored activities.
- After a passenger aboard the Wilderness Adventurer gets a positive test, the 2020 Alaska cruise season comes to a close quickly. UnCruise has canceled the following four trips as well as the remainder of the present sailing. A negative test result is subsequently received by the traveler.
- The final report on the Ruby Princess incident has been released by Australian authorities. Princess Cruises has been absolved of any culpability despite the fact that the ships have been linked to over 850 verified illnesses and at least 28 fatalities.
- The MSC Grandiosa, an MSC Cruises ship, is back in operation with a multi-port Italy itinerary available exclusively to Italian guests. With new procedures in place, the ship sails at a reduced capacity.
- After departing the guided ship excursion in Naples only two days into the MSC Grandiosa’s maiden voyage, a family is denied permission to reboard. According to the cruise company, the family shattered a “social bubble” intended to keep passengers from interacting with locals in port.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is now trading at $16.48, Royal Caribbean Cruises is trading at $68.84, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is trading at $17.11.
The 3rd and 4th Carnival Fantasy-class ships, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination, have been sold and will depart the fleet in 2020.
- The cruise ship ban in Australia has been extended until December 17, 2020, according to the Australian Health Minister.
- The Costa Deliziosa is the first Costa Cruises ship to begin operations in Italy.
- Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed the sale of Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination. Imagination is on its way to Turkey’s scrapyards, while Fascination has yet to find a buyer.
- Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida have introduced the Set Sail Safely Act, which would establish a task force and advisory group to aid the cruise industry’s return to operation while avoiding the CDC. The measure has begun its journey through the Senate.
- The Sun Princess and Sea Princess, both from Princess Cruises, have been sold. Sun Princess is expected to be sold to Japan’s Peace Boat, while Sea Princess has yet to find a buyer.
- Over 12,000 individual comments have been received as the CDC’s public comment session draws to a conclusion. The 69-page study from Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Healthy Sail Panel is one of the contributions.
- The CDC has decided to prolong the no-sail order for another month, until October 31, 2020. The CDC intended to prolong the order until 2021, according to media sources, but the White House intervened and advocated for a shorter extension.
- The stock of Carnival Corporation is $15.18, Royal Caribbean Group is $64.73, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is $17.11.
When cruising resumes, CLIA member lines agree to 100% virus testing for passengers and staff before every voyage.
- Carnival Cruise Company has canceled all sailings until December 2020, with the exception of those from Miami and Port Canaveral, which the line hopes to resume before the end of the year.
- In the House of Representatives, Puerto Rican Representative Jennifer González Colón proposes a bill to complement Rubio and Scott’s Set Sail Safely Act.
- When cruises restart, CLIA’s member lines will demand 100 percent testing of passengers and staff before every departure.
- Royal Caribbean has announced that the Quantum of the Seas would begin voyages from Singapore in December 2020.
- Vice President Pence meets with cruise industry leaders and government health experts to discuss the resumption of cruise service in the United States. Pence says he’ll bring the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations to the Coronavirus Task Force, indicating that President Trump’s administration supports the industry’s aim of resuming service as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Carnival Cruise Line has canceled departures from Miami and Port Canaveral until November 2020, but remains hopeful that six ships would leave from the two ports in December 2020.
- MSC Magnifica is the second MSC Cruises ship to begin cruising in Europe, departing from Genoa on a 10-night voyage that includes stops in Italy, Malta, and Greece.
- Don Young, the United States Representative for Alaska, has proposed regulation changes that would allow cruises to Alaska starting in 2021, even if Canada’s ports remained restricted to cruise traffic. Foreign-flag ships must stop at a foreign port to lawfully call in Alaska, according to a 100-year-old maritime statute.
- Royal Caribbean Group reports a $1.2 billion deficit for the third quarter. The CDC and European brand TUI Cruises have made significant progress, according to CEO Richard Fain. During the closure, the firm believes that it is burning between $250 million and $290 million each month.
- Canada’s cruise ship travel prohibition will be extended from October 31 to February 28. Because there are no Canada/New England sailings in 2020 and the Alaska season spans from April to September, this is more of a precaution than anything else.
- Carnival Corporation’s German-brand AIDA Cruises has decided to suspend sailings until November 30 in order to comply with Germany’s recently enforced shutdown. The brand’s only cruise ship, which is now cruising, will return to Rome on October 31.
- According to the CDC, the No Sail order will expire on October 31 and will not be renewed. Instead, the agency issues a 40-page plan detailing the procedures that cruise companies must do in order to get a COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate for each ship. It was uncertain if cruises would be able to restart in 2020 due to the intricacy of the criteria.
- Carnival Fascination has reportedly been sold to an unnamed Asian bidder for use as a “accommodation ship,” and the ship is now on way to Singapore for a technical halt. The Fascination was one of four Fantasy-class ships sold by Carnival Cruise Line this year, and it is the only one on the tree that will not be destroyed.
Following the new CDC framework announced in late October, Norwegian Cruise Line was the first to cancel the rest of the 2020 cruise season.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has decided to cancel all Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises sailings in North America until December 31, 2020.
- Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises have all canceled their North American sailings until December 31, 2020.
- MSC Cruises has announced that all North American sailings would be canceled until December 31, 2020.
- Carnival Cruise Line has announced that all voyages would be canceled until December 31, 2020.
- MSC Trips has suspended Mediterranean sailings on the MSC Magnifica until December 20, 2020, while TUI Cruises has suspended Mein Schiff 6 cruises in Greece until November.
- Dream Trips is resuming 2- and 3-night cruises to nowhere from Singapore on the World Dream, promising to transform a typical “stay-cation” into a “super sea-cation.” There will be strict health precautions in place, as well as distance restrictions.
- Costa Cruises has canceled all Costa Deliziosa sailings till December 25, 2020.
- SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I departs from Barcelona on a 7-night trip to the Caribbean. After a cruise writer publishes pictures of a staff member without a mask during embarkation, the ship receives instant backlash on social media.
- Pfizer’s announcement of a successful COVID-19 vaccination study has boosted cruise line stocks. Carnival Corporation increased by 39.29%, Royal Caribbean Group increased by 28.61%, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings increased by 26.83 percent.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reported a $677 million loss in the third quarter and says that although booking volumes “remain below historical levels,” there is still significant demand for future voyages, especially those scheduled for the second half of 2021.
- After five guests aboard test positive with COVID-19, Sea Dream Yacht Club cancels the rest of SeaDream I’s current Caribbean trip and the next sailing. Passengers and staff members who were not wearing masks were photographed and shared on social media. The ship was not obliged to follow CDC standards since it traveled from Barbados.
- Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy has said that the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Horizon, which sail from Port Canaveral and Port Miami, respectively, would likely be the first ships back in operation when voyages begin in 2021.
- Norwegian Cruise Company has announced a new docuseries that will offer the general public a front-row seat as the line relaunches. EMBRACE – On November 19, 2020, the Series will premiere on http://www.ncl.com/embark with an episode showcasing Broadway-caliber performance with a reunion of “Choir of Man” cast members at London’s West End Garrick Theatre.
- Carnival Corporation announces a $1.5 billion “at the market” stock sale while the cruise line burns through $530 million per month and ships in much of the globe are halted.
- Following Sea Dream Cruises’ botched restart of Caribbean sailings from Barbados, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Representative Doris Matsui of California wrote to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, urging him to reinstate the No Sail Order for cruise ships departing from U.S. ports, which was revoked in late October. The CDC has until November 27, 2020 to reply, according to legislators.
- Over 100,000 passengers have volunteered to take part in test sailings as required by the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order, according to Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean’s trial cruises are anticipated to be brief trips to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line’s own island, with the aim of testing new health and safety procedures.
- According to reports, Bahamas Paradise Cruises has sold the former Carnival Cruise Line ship Grand Celebration, which will be scrapped in Alang, India. The cruise company has been adamant about not confirming the transaction.
- Magellan, the former Carnival Cruise Line Holiday, which was put up for sale when Cruise & Maritime Voyages entered bankruptcy in July, was purchased at auction for $3 million by Greek ferry operator, SeaJets. Magellan marks the fourth cruise ship the ferry operator has purchased in recent months; it appears if SeaJets owner Marios Iliopoulos is making a play to expand into the cruise industry.
- After seven guests and two staff members tested positive on the first Caribbean sailing, SeaDream Yacht Club decided to cancel the remaining 2020 Caribbean cruises. The airline said that it would continue to work on improved safety measures for customers and staff.
- Carnival Cruise Line has announced that all voyages would be canceled until January 31, 2021. In addition, cruises from Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Mobile, New Orleans, and San Diego have been canceled until February 28th, while Carnival Legend sailings from Tampa have been canceled until March 26th.
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released its annual study on the cruise industry’s economic effect in the United States. Cruising produced $55.5 billion in economic activity in the United States in 2018, up 5.3 percent from the previous year. In 2019, over 13.7 million passengers embarked on a cruise from a U.S. port, increasing almost 8% from 2018 and 26% from five years earlier.
- Princess Trips has canceled all cruises until March 31, 2021, citing the need to focus on meeting stringent new CDC health and safety standards. The company is also canceling longer-than-seven-day trips in and out of US ports until November 1, 2021.
- Holland America Line has canceled all cruises until March 31, 2021, and says it is still working on creating measures to comply with the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order. Through November 1, 2021, the company will discontinue a number of longer trips, including those that are 8 nights or longer and stop at a U.S. port.
- “At most passengers, cruise ship travel is optional and should be postponed for a later date,” the CDC says, raising the Cruise Ship Travel Warning to Level 4, or Very High. No cruise ships are presently scheduled to return to service from U.S. ports, so it’s unclear what caused the shift in alert levels.
- After boarding her crew complement at St. Maarten, the Carnival Horizon, one of the first Carnival Cruise Line ships scheduled to return to service, returns to Miami. The crew will go to work complying with the CDC’s Conditional Voyage Order and preparing for her upcoming test sailing.
- Disney Cruise Line has decided to cancel all voyages till January 31, 2021.
- For reservations made until December 31, 2020 for sailings through October 31, 2021, Norwegian Cruise Line has extended its “Peace of Mind” booking policy. The policy enables passengers to cancel their trip up to 15 days before departure.
- MSC Cruises is the first foreign line to obtain permission from the nautical classification organization, ClassNK, to begin sailing from Japan. In December, reservations for MSC Bellissima’s maiden voyages from Yokamama in April, May, and June 2021 will open. Only locals will be able to take part in the cruises.
- The Disney Wonder returns to Port Canaveral for the first time since March, becoming the first cruise ship to stay in the port for an extended period of time. To comply with the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order, the ship will go to work.
On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, the Celebrity Edge will return to Port Everglades.
- The Quantum of the Seas sets off from Singapore, marking the first time a Royal Caribbean ship has set sail in almost nine months.
- The first Celebrity Cruises ship, the Celebrity Edge, arrives to Port Everglades to begin preparations for a return to cruising.
- In January and February 2021, Norwegian Cruise Line will cancel all sailings.
- Under the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order procedure, the Carnival Horizon fails to get a “all clear” from the CDC on plans for crew repatriation, possibly delaying the ship’s return to service.
- Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Voyages have announced that all cruises would be canceled until February 28, 2021.
- Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all voyages till February 28, 2021, and the maiden sailing of the Gras has been rescheduled for April 24, 2021.
- MSC Cruises has canceled all cruises departing from the United States until February 28, 2021.
- MSC Cruises has paused MSC Grandiosa sailings in the Mediterranean from December 20, 2020 to January 9, 2021, following the Italian government’s announcement of severe restrictions on citizen movement in late December and early January. MSC Magnifica’s return to service has been delayed from December 18, 2020 to January 15, 2021.
- All Disney Cruise Line voyages have been canceled until February 28, 2021.
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has announced that its 28 ships, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, would be outfitted with a “virus neutralizing” air filtration technology. “All-natural solution with no hazardous chemicals, radiation, or by-products,” AtmosAir Solutions claims of their proprietary air filtration system technology.
- An 83-year-old passenger onboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas tests positive for COVID-19 while on a four-day cruise to nowhere out of Singapore, prompting the ship’s quick return to port. While contract tracing was performed aboard to identify who the person had close contacts with, all passengers were restricted to their cabins.
- Cruisers are increasingly resorting to the Florida Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau to seek refunds for cancelled trips, according to a report by the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. This is particularly true of Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.
- Multiple COVID-19 tests conducted on the Quantum of the Seas passenger yielded no results. Before boarding passengers on the following voyage, passengers exit, the crew is tested, and the ship is thoroughly cleaned.
- According to Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Company Holdings, the cruise line is looking into the legalities of mandating a COVID-19 vaccination for all future guests.
- Scarlet Lady’s first voyage has been pushed back from January 3 to May 9, 2021, while Valiant Lady’s debut has been pushed back from May to November 14, 2021, according to Virgin Voyages.
- Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas have been sold by Royal Caribbean and will depart the fleet later this month. The ships were sold in the Asia-Pacific area to an unnamed bidder.
- The Royal Caribbean Group has announced the second phase of its RCL Cares initiative, which will provide travel agents with up to $40 million in interest-free loans to help them keep their businesses alive. Each loan is limited to $250,000 and must be repaid within three years.
- Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to postpone the remaining March 2021 sailings on Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Escape, and Norwegian Joy, indicating that the company would not resume cruising until April 1, 2021.
The Azamara Quest and its two sister ships will be sold to private equity company Sycamore Partners for $202 million. (Azamara provided the photo.)
- Carnival Cruise Line has announced that all sailings would be canceled till March 31, 2021.
- Princess Cruises has canceled all sailings till May 14, 2021.
- All cruises on Holland America Line have been canceled till April 30, 2021. Additionally, several Alaska trips have been canceled as early as early June; Mediterranean vacations have been canceled until early June; and Canada/New England cruises have been canceled through August.
- The MS Marco Polo. a legendary ship that launched in 1965, is heading for the scrapyard in India. Most recently sailing for Cruise & Maritime Voyages, which dissolved in 2020 in the midst of the cruise industry shutdown, the ship once cruised for Norwegian Cruise Line-owned Orient Lines.
- Carnival Corporation reported a $2.2 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2020, owing to the fact that majority of its cruise ships are still docked and there is still no word on when operations will start.
- Grand Cayman has announced that cruise ships would not be welcomed back to the island until 2022. “Cruise is not on our radar at this time,” stated Premier Alden McLaughlin of the Cayman Islands. “Before we ever considered having the cruise ships come here, we would have to be convinced that the world was in a completely different position in terms of COVID-19 safety.
- All sailings on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have been canceled until April 2021.
- The Azamara cruise line will be sold to private equity company Sycamore Partners for $201 million in cash, according to Royal Caribbean Group. The three-ship fleet, as well as any related intellectual property, will be purchased by the company.
- Saga Cruises, located in the United Kingdom, will be the first cruise company to mandate all passengers to get the COVID-19 vaccination once sailing resumes. Passengers must have had both vaccination doses at least 14 days before boarding their cruise, according to Saga. In a statement, the line stated, “The bulk of our passengers fall within the at-risk age category, and our focus is their safety and well-being.”
- Princess Cruises has announced that the Pacific Princess has been sold to an unnamed bidder. Since the cruise industry shut down in March 2020, this is the fourth Princess ship to be sold. The ship was eventually purchased by Sycamore Partners, the new owners of Azamara, and renamed the Azamara Onward, becoming the third ship in the Azamara line, all of which were formerly Renaissance Cruises R-Ships.
When sailing begins in February 2021, several cruise companies started publicizing vaccination requirements for both staff and guests.
- River lines in the United States Beginning July 1, the American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines will require all passengers and staff members to be vaccinated.
- Cozumel, Mexico, started marketing itself as a home port for Caribbean-based cruise ships unable to begin operating from the United States. While no big cruise ships would eventually call Cozumel home, the concept of sailing from other Caribbean ports would come to reality later in the year.
- All crew members will be vaccinated once ships begin, according to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises. The three cruise lines, all of which are controlled by Royal Caribbean Group, have joined Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in demanding 100% immunization of crew members.
- Sailings of Norwegian Cruise Line have been canceled till May 31.
- Crystal Sails has announced that whenever the company starts cruises, all passengers will be required to get vaccinated at least 14 days before to sailing.
- Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all sailings till May 31 and has postponed the launch of its new flagship, Mardi Gras, once again.
- All cruises planned to leave from or sail to Canada in 2021 have been canceled by Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, as Canada’s cruise ports remain blocked to almost all cruise ship business.
Adventure of the Seas was sent to Nassau as part of Royal Caribbean’s end-run around the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order, which barred shios from sailing from U.S. ports. (Nassau Cruise Port provided this photo.)
- Fans of Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Cruise Line who have been without Donkey Sauce for almost a year will be given a lifeline when Guy’s Flavortown Kitchen, a network of delivery-only eateries offering his renowned burgers and other concoctions, debuts.
- Two senators from Alaska have introduced legislation to preserve the 2021 Alaska cruise season. The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act would, among other things, enable cruise ships to travel directly to Alaska from a U.S. port, bypassing the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which keeps Canada’s cruise ports closed to most cruise ship business.
- Additional sailings are being canceled by Holland America Line and Princess Cruises until June 30. Princess would likewise cancel all Alaska sailings until June 30 only a few days later.
- Crystal Serenity, the first ship planned to travel from a North American port since the closure started, will begin sailing from Nassau on July 3.
- On a seven-night cruise around the southeast coast, American Cruise Lines’ ship American Independence restarts service.
- The one-year anniversary of the golabal cruise industry’s “30-day halt” approaches, with no ships leaving a North American port in the last 365 days.
- The American Queen Steamboat Company begins service on the Mississippi River with the first of two private charter trips aboard the American Duchess.
- When Virgin Voyages starts sailing, all of its guests and staff will be obliged to get vaccinated.
- Royal Caribbean has announced that the Adventure of the Seas would call Nassau home starting in June, wagering that enthusiastic cruise customers from the United States will be ready to fly from Florida to the Bahamas.
- Beginning June 5, Celebrity Cruises will base the Celebrity Millennium at St. Maarten.
- As a “essential part” of the cruise industry’s recovery, Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis E. Sola has proposed a vaccination requirement for cruise passengers.
- Vision of the Seas will sail from Bermuda starting in June, according to Royal Caribbean. The cruise company will abandon the deployment in less than two months as the probability of sailing from the United States becomes “increasing by the day.”
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is urging the CDC to allow a gradual return of cruising from U.S. ports by July 1, citing increasing business pressure to do so.
- As rival cruise companies race to deploy ships from near-island locations, Carnival Cruise Line assures devoted passengers that it will not abandon its famous U.S. home ports.
The CDC’s April 2021 advice set the foundation for cruises to begin in June (Photo courtesy of CDC)
- The CDC eventually releases “phase 2” guidelines for returning cruise ships to U.S. ports, a complicated document that calls for numerous gangways, masks, and contracts with hospitals and lodging facilities. The cruise industry, as well as cruise enthusiasts, were disappointed by the high bar set for it, with much more rigorous standards than those imposed on airlines, hotels, and other travel providers. The restrictions, according to Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, are “absolutely impossible,” and transferring ships from the United States to foreign home ports may be required if their lines aren’t permitted to sail from the United States soon.
- For the first time, the CDC expresses optimism in response to Carnival Corporation’s threat to withdraw ships from the United States, saying, “CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the conditional sail order.” Many major cruise ship operators and passengers have indicated a wish to restart passenger operations in the United States; ideally by mid-summer with limited commercial sailings.”
- Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all staff and guests until at least October 31, 2021. No exceptions will be made for children, which means that those who are too young to get the vaccination will be unable to sail.
- Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all cruises till June 30.
- Attorney General Ashley Moody of Florida launches a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, requesting that the agency remove its Conditional Sailing Order and enable ships to sail from American ports.
- According to the ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ at least five cruise ships from Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation were sent to the island of St. Vincents to evacuate residents and tourists ahead of an impending, life-threatening eruption of the La Soufriere volcano. Empty ships would not have been available to respond to the request if the cruise industry was functioning properly.
- The CDC changes the phrase “to the extent possible” in phase 2 Conditional Sailing Order guidelines, which previously stated that incoming and leaving cruise ship passengers may not use the same area in a cruise terminal during “a 12 hour period.” The CDC seems to be listening to industry input and trying to put real, actionable recommendations in place, so this small adjustment in wording is regarded with optimism.
- Senators from Florida and Alaska, two of the states most hit by the cruise industry closure, have introduced the CRUISE Act, which would overturn the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order and allow cruise ships to return to U.S. ports by July. After ten days, the measure fails to gain traction in the Senate.
- In an effort to keep cruises from the United States from being canceled, Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Senator Richard Blumenthal have written to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, pleading with her to listen to “scientists and health and safety experts over the industry and its profit-driven executives” and to continue implementing the Conditional Sailing Order, which prevents cruise ships with “unsafe conditions” from sailing.
- The CDC increases its warning level for the Bahamas, urging U.S. residents to avoid going to the island country, less than two months before cruises from Nassau are scheduled to begin. The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s president believes “this is a wake-up call” that should be seen as “a big warning,” and predicts a detrimental effect on tourism.
- Alaska has joined the lawsuit filed by Florida against the CDC.
- Florida filed a petition in a Tampa district court, requesting an emergency injunction to overturn the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued fresh advice, indicating that cruises from US ports may resume in July.
- The 175-passenger American Constitution of American Cruise Lines will begin 11-night cruises in the Chesapeake Bay, including stops in Washington, D.C.
President Joseph R. Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act into law on May 24, 2021, saving the 2021 Alaska cruise season. The act allows cruises to travel round trip from Seattle without stopping at a Canadian port, which is still restricted to most cruise ships. (Royal Caribbean provided this image.)
- MSC Seaside has resumed Mediterranean trips.
- The CDC issues Phases 2B and 3 of its Conditional Sailing Order, laying out the two options for cruise ships to resume cruising from US ports.
- Texas has joined the case filed by Florida and Alaska against the CDC and its Conditional Sailing Order.
- If the state of Florida does not allow Norwegian Cruise Company to require passengers for evidence of vaccination, the line has threatened to abandon its Florida home ports.
- Carnival Cruise Line has canceled the majority of its voyages till July 30. Carnival Breeze, Carnival Vista, and Carnival Horizon are expected to begin sailing in July. Carnival Miracle has been selected to replace Carnival Freedom from Seattle if a shorter Alaska season is allowed to sail.
- The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act is passed by the United States Senate, superseding the Passenger Vessel Services Act and allowing cruises to sail to Alaska from a U.S. port without stopping at a foreign port, among other measures. The passage raises the prospect of at least a half sailing season in Alaska in 2021.
- Florida’s request for an injunction against the CDC is denied, and a court orders the state and the CDC to work out a settlement via forced mediation by June 1.
- MSC Cruises is the first line to resume sailings from the United Kingdom, with the MSC Virtuosa sailing from Southampton for a four-night trip.
- The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act is passed by the House of Representatives.
- Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line, all owned by Carnival Corporation, have announced a shorter Alaska cruise season, with each ship sailing one ship roundtrip from Seattle starting in late July, taking advantage of provisions in the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act. These 2021 itineraries may be the last chance for Americans with a DUI or other criminal record to cruise to Alaska, circumventing Canada’s stringent entrance restrictions.
- The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act is signed into law by Vice President Joe Biden.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given Royal Caribbean International permission to start testing cruises from Miami in late June.
- The CDC approves Royal Caribbean’s first simulated trip, which is required under the Conditional Sailing Order. Royal Caribbean Group workers will be among the guests on the Freedom of the Seas cruise, which will depart on June 20.
- Celebrity Cruises CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo tweets, “Someday is here,” after the cruise company gets CDC permission for the Celebrity Edge to depart Port Everglades on June 26.
When the Celebrity Edge sailed from Port Everglades on June 26, 2021, it became the first ship to conduct a commercial cruise from a U.S. port in over 16 months.
- The CDC has given Disney Cruise Line permission to conduct test sailings as soon as the end of the month.
- Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the Carnival Vista will depart Galveston on June 3rd, marking the company’s return to operation.
- Unvaccinated cruisers can anticipate greater prices and more limitations aboard than vaccinated travelers, according to the CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.
- The Adventure of the Seas sets sail from Nassau, Bahamas, marking the first time in over a year that a Royal Caribbean ship has left a North American home port on a cruise.
- The Viking Orion will begin sailings from Bermuda, marking the first time since March 2020 that customers from the United States would be able to book a vacation with the company.
- After eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19 when the ship landed in Florida, Royal Caribbean has postponed the Odyssey of the Seas’ departure from Port Everglades until July 31.
- MSC Cruises has announced that the MSC Meraviglia will begin sailing from Miami on August 2 and the MSC Divina will begin sailing from Port Canaveral on September 16.
- Celebrity Cruises’ latest ship, the Celebrity Apex, takes off from Athens, Greece, for her first trip.
- The Freedom of the Seas of Royal Caribbean sets sail on a simulated trip from Miami, marking the first time in over 450 days that a cruise ship has left a U.S. port carrying passengers.
- The Celebrity Edge takes sail from Fort Lauderdale on a seven-night trip, marking the first commercial cruise from the United States in over 15 months.
- Viking Sky sails around Iceland from Reykjavik, the country’s capital.
- Unvaccinated cruisers traveling from Florida must buy travel insurance in addition to extra testing procedures and costs, according to Royal Caribbean.
On Sunday, May 2, 2021, the Carnival Vista will return to the Port of Galveston, escorted by the Bay Houston Towing Company Tugboat Wesley A. and a Galveston/Texas City Pilot boat. On July 3, 2021, the ship began revenue operation. (Photos courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line, Robert Mihovil)
- Carnival Vista sails from Galveston, Texas, marking the company’s return to cruising.
- The Crystal Serenity sails from Nassau, Bahamas, marking Crystal’s return to the sea.
- The Celebrity Silhouette sets sail from Southampton, England for a series of coastal cruises accessible exclusively to British guests.
- Carnival Horizon sails from Miami on a six-night western Caribbean cruise, marking the company’s return to Florida sailings.
- The state of Florida is being sued by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings over a prohibition on companies demanding evidence of immunization.
- Canada has announced that instead of February 28, 2022, it would remove its cruise ship prohibition on November 1, 2021. This is irrelevant, though, since the sailing seasons in Canada/New England and Alaska are finished or almost gone by November.
- From Port Canaveral, Florida, the Disney Dream sets sail on a two-night test trip.
- The Serenade of the Seas sets off from Seattle, marking the first major cruise ship to visit Alaska since 2019.
- Norwegian Jade sets off from Athens, Greece, as the company’s first ship to re-enter operation.
- From Port Canaveral, Florida, Carnival Cruise Line’s much-anticipated ship Mardi Gras sets sail on her seven-night inaugural trip.
The Norwegian Gem arrived at the line’s new PortMiami port (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
- MSC Cruises begins operations in the United States, with the MSC Meraviglia leaving from PortMiami on a four-night trip to the Bahamas.
- In view of an increase in COVID-19 infections and a low number of vaccinated inhabitants, the US Virgin Islands has banned cruise ships unless all passengers 12 and older are vaccinated.
- A Florida court gives Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings a preliminary injunction, allowing them to demand vaccines on cruises departing from the state.
- MSC Cruises’ new flagship, the MSC Seashore, sets off on her first Mediterranean trip.
- With the Disney Dream embarking on a four-night trip from Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line resumes sailings in the United States.
- Onboard the Carnival Vista, there are 26 crew members and 1 guest who have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship follows its COVID procedures and continues to cruise with no further positive COVID tests.
- Norwegian Gem is the first ship to sail from Norwegian Cruise Line’s new port at PortMiami, marking the line’s return to Florida.
- The vaccination obligation for Norwegian Cruise Line has been extended until at least December 31, 2021.
- The Bahamas has announced that cruise ships may only dock at any of its ports (including private islands owned by cruise lines) if all passengers aged 12 and above have been vaccinated. Those aged 12 and above who are unable to get vaccinated due to medical problems are also permitted.
- The Carnival Panorama departs from Long Beach, becoming the first cruise ship to leave the state since the cruise industry closed in early 2020.
- The Oasis of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean mega-ship, will embark on a six-night test voyage from Bayonne, New Jersey.
- Santa Barbara, California’s port has announced that it would be closed to cruise ships until March 2022.
- Carnival Cruise Line has pushed out the arrival of multiple ships from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022. Pier-side testing will be offered at all embarkation ports, according to the cruise company, to give another alternative for guests who are unable to get a test within 72 hours before departure.
- Beginning September 13, all guests on Disney Cruise Line will be required to undergo pier-side testing.
As events develop, this timeline will be updated.