May 26, 2021

When Will Cruises Resume? A Line-By-Line Guide


When will the Great Cruise Shutdown end? That’s the question cruise fans in North America have been asking for months as they await the day when they can get back on the high seas.

While we have seen a few cruise ships resume operations in Europe and other destinations around the world since last summer, most of these vessels remain off-limits to Americans.

And right now, cruising remains almost completely shut down in North America. The only cruise ships that have resumed sailing this year in U.S. waters are very small vessels that sail on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waterways.

Still, the good news for cruise fans is that several major lines — including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises — finally have announced definitive plans to restart North America cruising in June and July.

In some cases, the restarts involve cruises departing from non-U.S. ports such as Nassau in the Bahamas. But, in recent days, several lines also have announced plans for cruises out of Seattle to Alaska, to start as early as late July. The announcements come in the wake of a new law that eases restrictions on cruising to Alaska and signs that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may soon allow big cruise ships to resume sailing out of U.S. ports.

That said, as of right now, most cruise lines have canceled all or most sailings in North America through at least the end of June, and some lines have canceled at least some departures in North America even further into the year.

For the most part, cruise lines also have canceled most sailings in other parts of the world until early June, though as mentioned above, a few ships have restarted service in Europe and other regions.

The COVID-19 pandemic also has thrown a wrench into the launch plans for startup lines Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Virgin Voyages. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has now pushed back its inaugural voyage to Nov. 10. Virgin Voyages has pushed back its big debut in Miami to the fall (although it plans some sailings in the U.K. starting in August). Both lines originally were due to debut in 2020.

Here’s a look at when major river, ocean and expedition cruise brands that market to North Americans say they’ll resume operations:

Adventure Canada has canceled sailings on Ocean Endeavour until 2022.

AmaWaterways plans to restart cruises in Europe on July 3 with sailings on the Douro River in Portugal. Sailings on other European rivers including the Danube, Rhine and Rhone will resume toward the end of July with various ships returning on a staggered basis.

American Cruise Lines resumed cruises along the intracoastal waterways of Georgia and South Carolina on March 13 with one vessel, the 100-passenger Independence, and it has since added sailings on the Mississippi River and several other U.S. waterways. Nearly all of the line’s 13 vessels now are back in operation.

American Queen Steamboat Company resumed cruises on the Mississippi River on March 15 with a sailing of its 166-passenger American Duchess, and it added a second ship to service (American Countess) on the river on March 21. The line’s Pacific Northwest-based riverboat, American Empress, is scheduled to resume sailings on June 14. The company does not have a restart date for its fourth vessel, American Queen.

Aurora Expeditions is hoping its 132-passenger Greg Mortimer will be able to resume sailings in October.

Avalon Waterways hopes to restart cruises for Americans on the Seine River in France on July 20. All other sailings for Americans in Europe are canceled through July 31.

Azamara plans to resume sailings on Aug. 28 with a single ship, Azamara Quest, sailing Greece-intensive voyages out of Piraeus, Greece. All other sailings have been canceled until September.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line hopes to resume operations in July.

Birka Cruises has shut down.

Blount Small Ship Adventures has shut down.

Carnival Cruise Line has canceled departures on all but four of its 24 ships through the end of July, and departures on a few of its vessels have been canceled for much longer. The line has announced plans to restart cruises to Alaska out of Seattle on July 27, using the Carnival Miracle. It also is hoping to restart cruises on the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista out of Galveston and the Carnival Horizon out of Miami in July.

Celebrity Cruises plans to restart cruising in June with sailings out of the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin (known as St. Maarten) and sailings out of Athens, Greece. The line also has announced voyages out of Southampton, England, starting on July 3 that will be limited to residents of the U.K. only; voyages in the Galápagos starting on July 4; and voyages to Alaska out of Seattle starting on July 23. The line has canceled all other sailings through the end of June and some sailings on other vessels through October.

Celestyal Cruises, a specialist in Greek Island cruises, plans to restart cruises in the region on May 29.

Costa Cruises resumed operations in the Mediterranean on May 1 with a single vessel, Costa Smeralda, and has since added a second vessel (Costa Luminosa) to Mediterranean sailings. Two more Costa vessels — Costa Deliziosa and Costa Firenze — are scheduled to restart operations in the Mediterranean on June 26 and July 4, respectively. Sailings on all other Costa ships have been canceled through mid-September.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has shut down.

Crystal Cruises plans to resume cruises on July 3 with one of its two bigger ocean ships, Crystal Serenity, sailing all-Bahamas trips out of Nassau in the Bahamas. The line’s other large ocean vessel, Crystal Symphony, will resume sailings on Aug. 5 with sailings out of St. John’s, Antigua. Crystal has canceled all sailings of its yacht-like vessel Crystal Esprit through Sept. 26. All departures of Crystal’s river ships have been canceled through Aug. 28.

Cunard Line has canceled all originally scheduled departures of its three vessels — Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 — through Aug. 27, Oct. 11 and Nov. 12, respectively. In their place, the U.K.-based line plans to operate some all-U.K. voyages for residents only over the summer on one of the ships, Queen Elizabeth.

Disney Cruise Line has canceled all departures into July. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are now scheduled to resume sailings on July 2 and 3, respectively. Disney Wonder is now scheduled to return to service on July 7. All previously announced sailings on Disney Magic, which had been scheduled to spend the summer in Europe, have been canceled through Oct. 14. But Disney recently announced that Disney Magic would instead operate sailings around the U.K. over the summer for U.K. residents only.

Emerald Waterways plans to resume cruises in Europe on July 31 with sailings on the Douro River in Portugal.

FTI Cruises has shut down.

Hurtigruten in July 2020 resumed sailings to the Arctic with two ships after resuming limited cruises from Hamburg, Germany, to Norway with one ship in June. But the line soon stopped the sailings following a significant COVID-19 outbreak on one of the vessels. The line currently plans a new restart in July with sailings out of the U.K. for local U.K.-residents only.

Holland America plans to restart cruises to Alaska out of Seattle with one ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, on July 24. It also plans to resume sailings in the Mediterranean on Aug. 15 with a single ship, Eurodam. For now, it has canceled sailings on all ships through the end of June. In addition, the line has canceled all 2021 sailings to Alaska that begin or end in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jalesh Cruises has shut down.

Lindblad Expeditions plans to restart sailings in the Galápagos and Alaska in June. There’s no word yet on when sailings in other regions will resume.

MSC Cruises plans to resume operations in Europe with more than half its fleet over the next four months. The 18-ship brand already has restarted sailings out of Italy with two ships and sailings out of the U.K. (for U.K. passengers only) with one ship. It plans to restart Mediterranean and Northern Europe sailings with seven more vessels by Aug. 1. The line has canceled all North American departures through at least the end of June.

Norwegian Cruise Line plans to restart operations on July 25 with a single ship (Norwegian Jade) sailing Greek island voyages out of Piraeus, Greece. It then plans to start Caribbean cruises out of Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in August with one ship in each destination (Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Gem, respectively) and cruises to Alaska in August with one ship (Norwegian Bliss). Two more vessels, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway, will restart operations in September and October, respectively.

Sailings on the 17-ship line’s 11 other vessels have been canceled at least through the end of July and, in some cases, as far out as October or November. Specifically, Norwegian has canceled departures of Pride of America through July 31; Norwegian Getaway through Sept. 2; Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Star through Sept. 30; Norwegian Sun through Oct. 7; Norwegian Escape through Oct. 10; Norwegian Breakaway through Oct. 17; and Norwegian Gem from Oct. 29 through Nov. 17.

Oceania Cruises plans to restart operations in the Mediterranean on Aug. 29 with just one of its six ships, the 1,250-passenger Marina. All other sailings have been canceled through Sept. 30.

Paul Gauguin Cruises resumed sailings in French Polynesia on July 11 but suspended the trips in the wake of travel restrictions for French overseas territories. The line now has canceled all sailings through Aug. 21.

Ponant resumed sailings in France, Croatia and Iceland on new itineraries in July but later suspended the trips due to growing travel restrictions in Europe.

Pullmantur, citing the impact of the cruising shutdown, filed for reorganization under Spanish insolvency laws over the summer of 2020 and is no longer operating.

Princess Cruises plans to resume sailings to Alaska on July 25 with one ship, Majestic Princess. Otherwise, it has canceled nearly all sailings worldwide through Aug. 21.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises plans to restart operations in Europe on Sept. 11 with just one of its five ships, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Splendor. All other sailings have been canceled through the end of September.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a new startup line affiliated with luxury hotel company Ritz-Carlton, has delayed its inaugural voyage until Nov. 10. The line originally was scheduled to debut in February 2020.

Royal Caribbean restarted limited sailings out of Singapore for Singapore residents only on Dec. 1 and plans to add cruises out of Nassau, in the Bahamas in June and cruises out of Cyprus starting in July. In addition, the line plans to add cruises out of the U.K. (for U.K. residents only) on July 7 and cruises to Alaska out of Seattle on July 19. It also plans to restart cruises out of China soon with two ships.

Sail Windjammer has shut down.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours plans to resume Europe river cruises on July 30 with sailings on the Douro River in Portugal. Ocean cruises have been canceled through the end of September.

Seabourn plans to restart operations in July with one ship sailing to the Greek islands out of Piraeus, Greece, and one ship sailing to the Caribbean out of Barbados. It has canceled all departures through the end of June, as well as a significant number of voyages through the rest of 2021. In addition, the line has canceled all 2021 sailings to Alaska.

Sea Cloud Cruises has canceled sailings through Aug. 6.

SeaDream Yacht Club has canceled all sailings through June 16.

Silversea plans to restart operations in June with one ship sailing to the Eastern Mediterranean out of Piraeus, Greece. It has canceled sailings on all ships through at least the end of May with sailings on a handful of ships canceled as far out as November.

Star Clippers has canceled all sailings through at least early August. Royal Clipper is now scheduled to resume service on Aug. 3, with Star Flyer following on Aug. 7. Star Clipper sailings have been put on hold until Nov. 13.

Tauck has canceled all sailings in Europe through July 15 with the exception of some Iceland and Greece-focused cruise itineraries that are expected to operate in June.

UnCruise Adventures, a specialist in adventure-focused Alaska cruises with small vessels, restarted trips in the state on May 8.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection plans to restart river cruises in Europe on June 18 with sailings in Italy. Sailings in France will restart in late June.

Variety Cruises resumed limited sailings on July 24, 2020.

Victory Cruise Lines has not announced a restart date for its sailings.

Viking in May started U.K.-only sailings for local residents out of Portsmouth, England. It also plans a handful of “welcome back voyages” out of Bermuda and Iceland in June and July as well as Mediterranean sailings out of Malta starting in July. Other than that, the line has canceled all previously announced sailings through the end of July.

Virgin Voyages has postponed the Miami debut of its first ship, Scarlet Lady, until at least September. But it plans a few sailings of the ship out of the U.K. for U.K. residents only starting in August. The arrival of the line’s second vessel, Valiant Lady, has been pushed back by six months to Nov. 14.

Windstar Cruises has canceled sailings on all ships through at least mid-June with some ships now not scheduled to return to service until much later in the year. The line’s Star Breeze and Wind Star now are scheduled to resume sailings on June 19, and Wind Spirit is due back in service on July 15. Wind Surf, Star Legend and Star Pride will return to cruising on Aug. 8, Sept. 4 and Nov. 3, respectively.

Copyright 2021 The Points Guy, LLC. All rights reserved. From https://thepointsguy.com. By Gene Sloan.

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