September 2, 2020
In this Issue
Here are some of the news articles we are following:
- Diehard Cruiser Turns Home into Cruise Ship in New Video
- Cunard Cancels Cruises Into 2021 and Makes Sweeping Deployment Changes
- Costa Cruises will test passengers
- 6 reasons hardcore cruisers can’t stop cruising
- The coronavirus crisis claims its first U.S.-based cruise line
- MSC Cruise Ship Won’t Be Resuming Operations as Scheduled
- 5 reasons why I’m bullish on the return of cruising
- MSC's Strict Screening Processes Are Already Working
- Which cruise brand is best for you? A guide to the most popular lines
- Silver Spirit Cruise Ship Arrives in Saudi Arabia to Resume Cruises
- Portugal is open for Britons but Spain is not – so what happens on Douro cruises?
- A third Carnival Cruise Line ship appears headed for the scrappers
- Cruise trips are back. This is what they look like now
- Cunard suspends all sailings until March 2021
- Costa Cruises to require all passengers to take COVID-19 test
- Genting Hong Kong Ltd. suspends all payments to creditors
- Victoria BC could remain closed to cruise ships until 2022
- Marella Cruises once again extends pause in operations until November 15
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Diehard Cruiser Turns Home into Cruise Ship in New Video
"It’s been over five months since the last cruise ships departed from Miami and other Florida ports for cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas. Cruise fever is running at an all-time high and die-hard cruisers are ready to fire up those boarding passes and step foot on a cruise ship again. So how are cruisers coping with being stuck on land? One cruiser named Mike Faust created a cruise video from his house that shows exactly how much we miss being at sea. From towel animals to the sail away party, he recreates the cruise experience that we all can’t wait to have again."
Cunard Cancels Cruises Into 2021 and Makes Sweeping Deployment Changes
"Cunard will be extending its pause in operations from November 2020 until March 25, 2021 for its ship Queen Elizabeth; until April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and until May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria, the company announced. Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: “We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause. After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries. “Queen Elizabeth has returned to the UK and with ongoing uncertainty over the re-opening of many ports and countries, it is sadly not practical to continue her planned itineraries for 2021."
Covid-19, Costa Cruises will test passengers
"Genoa - Costa Cruises "continues to work for a responsible and safe start of its operations, scheduled for September, and becomes the first cruise company to earn the Biosafety Trust Certification from RINA, the over 150-year-old testing, inspection, certification and ship classification company that developed the innovative management system certification program". The certification process, carried out through audits, examines all aspects of life on board and ashore – from the embarkation procedures to hotel services, catering, fitness, relaxation areas and shore excursions – and assesses the compliance of the system with the scheme procedures aimed at the prevention and control of infections."
6 reasons hardcore cruisers can’t stop cruising
"If you’ve so much as imagined yourself on a cruise, you probably have a strong opinion on the matter. After all, it’s a pretty polarizing topic. Some people say they couldn’t be paid to step on board a cruise ship — but many wouldn’t dream of traveling any other way. My parents’ love affair with cruising began with their first sailing in the late 1980s. They’ve dabbled with cruise lines, including Carnival and Celebrity, for decades. When I was around 12, they brought me along on a family cruise to the Caribbean, sailing aboard the Grand Princess. I spent the entire voyage in the dark, arcade-style teen club with other moody tweens, or hiding from my parents on the Lido deck listening to Linkin Park on my Walkman. Now, my folks have taken nearly 20 cruises, and have achieved Diamond status with Royal Caribbean. They’re drawn to the unfussiness of it all (pack once, and you’re done) and the social aspect of cruising. My parents have met friends on cruise ships with whom they’ve cruised again. But there’s one thing you can’t argue with, whether you’re an avid cruiser or have strongly disavowed the whole thing: Once you cruise, you’re likely to keep coming back."
The coronavirus crisis claims its first U.S.-based cruise line
"Add Blount Small Ship Adventures to the list of cruise companies shutting down for good due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Warren, Rhode Island-based small-ship cruise specialist has canceled all future sailings and is selling its three vessels, according to shipping publication WorkBoat. The family that owns the brand will continue to operate its boat-building business, Blount Boats. “It was really just the requirement that all the cruise lines had to shut down for COVID, and at this point we decided not to start again,” Blount Boats president and CFO Marcia Blount told WorkBoat. “What we really decided was to focus on building.” "
MSC Cruise Ship Won’t Be Resuming Operations as Scheduled
"MSC Cruises has decided to delay the restart of operations for MSC Magnifica towards the end of September due to lower demand. The return to service during these difficult times is proving to be very tricky indeed and so far for MSC Cruises, only one vessel has managed to kick start operations. MSC Magnifica was set to resume cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean from August 29, 2020. The ship was set to offer 7-night itineraries calling to the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon, and Piraeus out of the Italian ports of Bari and Trieste. Those cruises on the MSC Magnifica have recently seen very low demand and comes after the introduction of additional testing measures for residents of Italy who have traveled to Greece. This has pushed many guests to cancel their bookings as the MSC Magnifica had three ports of call in Greece."
5 reasons why I’m bullish on the return of cruising
"On March 9, my friend boarded the Norwegian Jewel in Fiji to meet his parents for the cruise of a lifetime. By March 19 he was texting me things like, “Have you heard of any plans for this ship? We are clueless and cruising around the Pacific. Might stop in Hawaii, but probably won’t be let off. Might go through the Panama Canal. Who knows, On March 21, he texted pictures from the ship, where folks were enjoying an experience that people on land could only dream of — sunny days by the pool with frozen drinks. “Life is good; there are ZERO cases of ANY virus on board,” he wrote. His dream trip finally came to an end on March 23, when Hawaiian officials allowed the ship’s passengers to disembark and get charter flights out of the Aloha State. While the cruise industry has been hammered with bad news about virus outbreaks onboard and worries about financial health (just this week, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line warned that its survival was in “substantial doubt” if it didn’t get an infusion of liquidity), I foresee the cruise industry bouncing back before other travel segments like airlines and hotels. Cruises are mostly leisure-based, and if there’s anything building right now, it’s the urge to go on a relaxing trip — especially an affordable one. A lack of business travel will keep the airlines and hotels crippled for years, conventions are totally off the table for the time being, and most airlines and hotel chains simply can’t operate on leisure travelers alone. While those companies are planning fleet retirements and employee furloughs, I see a much brighter future for the cruise industry. Here’s why…"
MSC's Strict Screening Processes Are Already Working
"MSC Cruises' host of new health and safety protocols are already working, as the cruise line has denied boarding to a group of guests following COVID-19 testing, according to a statement. The Grandiosa was back in Genoa for her turnaround call on Sunday, and while MSC disinfected the ship, guests in the terminal underwent testing. MSC said that during embarkation, a young man tested positive for both an antigen test and a second molecular level test. As a result, MSC denied boarding to both the young man and his family; 15 people in total who had traveled to Genoa for the cruise by van. In addition, last Saturday while the ship was on her way back to Genoa from Valletta, all guests who went ashore in Malta took the mandatory testing required by the Italian authorities prior to re-entering Italy. All tested negative."
Which cruise brand is best for you? A guide to the most popular lines
"Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year. Thinking about booking your first cruise? The sheer range of choices can be daunting. There are more than two dozen lines marketing to North Americans — no two alike. The list of brands includes everything from giant companies such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line that are household names to lesser-known small operators such as Windstar Cruises. Some of the brands — Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, in particular — operate massive vessels that are like giant floating resorts with deck-top waterparks and other over-the-top amusements. Others specialize in intimate, boutique hotel-style ships."
Silver Spirit Cruise Ship Arrives in Saudi Arabia to Resume Cruises
"Silversea Cruises’ ship the Silver Spirit arrived in the Saudi Arabian port of Dhiba on August 23 as she prepares to become the next cruise ship to return to service. The luxury cruise ship will be operating as part of an effort to promote domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia. The first cruise ship owned by the Royal Caribbean Group to return to service, the Silver Spirit arrived in the Saudi port to refuel after transiting the Suez Canal during her repositioning voyage from the Mediterranean. The schedule calls for her to embark the first passengers on August 27. She will be operating from the King Abdullah port on a series of 3- and 4-day cruises in the Red Sea with stops including the port of Yanbu."
Portugal is open for Britons but Spain is not – so what happens on Douro cruises?
"The good news is that Portugal has finally joined the list of countries that Britons can visit without having to quarantine on return. The bad news is that Spain is now excluded, so that anyone flying back to the UK has to self-isolate for 14 days. So what happens on Douro cruises that start and end in Porto but normally cross the Spanish border, often with an excursion to Salamanca? The Department of Transport is quite clear. ‘If you get out of the vessel in a non-exempt country and mix with other people before getting in again, you will need to self-isolate in the UK,’ a spokesperson told me. ‘Passengers who have been in a non-exempt country within the preceding 14 days will still be required to self-isolate for the balance of 14 days since they left that country.’ Riviera Travel is planning to restart sailings on the Douro in September on two ships, Douro Elegance and Douro Splendour. A spokesman told me that if Spain remains on the quarantine list the company will use an alternative itinerary that avoids crossing the border."
A third Carnival Cruise Line ship appears headed for the scrappers
"It looks like a third Carnival Cruise Line ship is headed for the scrappers. The 2,056-passenger Carnival Imagination has filed a voyage plan for Aliaga, Turkey, the site of a major ship scrapping operation that has become the final resting place for such notable vessels as Princess Cruises‘ Pacific Princess — the original “Love Boat.” On Wednesday, ship tracking sites showed Carnival Imagination docked at the Caribbean island of Curacao in advance of the multi-week sailing to Aliaga. Curacao is the same starting point from which two other Carnival ships — Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration — departed for the scrapyards of Aliaga in July."
Cruise trips are back. This is what they look like now
"Boarding in the Italian port of Genoa for a seven-day Mediterranean cruise on August 16, travel agent Valeria Belardi prepared herself for a voyage like no other. Belardi was one of some 3,000 pioneering cruisers on board MSC Grandiosa, the first cruise liner to return to the Mediterranean following the global shut down of the multi-billion-dollar cruise industry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The voyage was characterized by Covid testing, social distancing, hand sanitizing and temperature checks, but it was, Belardi told CNN, also relaxing and enjoyable. More importantly it was, reportedly, virus-free. MSC Cruises wouldn't confirm exact numbers, but the Grandiosa was operating at about 60% of its 6,300-passenger capacity. There were day trips, including sightseeing in the Maltese capital Valletta and the Sicilian city of Palermo. While on board, Belardi enjoyed pre-packaged snacks on the deck, relaxing evenings by the pool and a trip to the spa. "I think cruises could be the safest holiday, right now," said Belardi, who owns travel company Vivere & Viaggiare Roma Pittaluga. But MSC Grandiosa is almost alone in its return to the high seas. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended a no-sail order effectively banning cruising around American waters until at least September 2020."
Cunard suspends all sailings until March 2021
"Carnival’s UK-based brand Cunard announced extension of its pause in operations. The Iconic brand will resume sailings in March 25, 2021, with Queen Elizabeth; following Queen Mary 2 on April 18, 2021 and finally on May 16, 2021 Queen Victoria is expected to set sail with guests. In a press release Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: "We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause. After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries. "Queen Elizabeth has returned to the UK and with ongoing uncertainty over the re-opening of many ports and countries, it is sadly not practical to continue her planned itineraries for 2021.Therefore, in addition to the pause in operations, all of Queen Elizabeth's sailings due to depart between March 26, 2021 and December 13, 2021, in and around Australia, Japan and Alaska, will be cancelled."
Costa Cruises to require all passengers to take COVID-19 test
"Costa Cruises announced it continued to "work for a responsible and safe start" of its sailings, scheduled for September 2020 and became the first cruise line to earn the “Biosafety Trust Certification” from RINA, the more than 150-year-old testing, certification, inspection, and ship classification firm that developed the new management system certification program. The certification process which is carried out via audits examines all aspects of life onboard and ashore and assesses the compliance of the innovative system with the scheme procedures aimed at the control and prevention of infections. To obtain certification from RINA, training modules for crew members have been created in compliance with the new health protocols as well as with the associated shipboard management system implemented by Costa Cruises. The training programs reinforce the strict procedures in place onboard the line’s ships, in the embarkation terminals and during shore trips, introduced with Costa Safety Protocol, the new health protocol developed by the company, with the support of independent experts, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Based on the epidemiological situation as well as considering the opinion of experts, from the first departure of Costa Deliziosa, scheduled for September 6, and to follow on all cruise ships that will return into operations, the Costa company will perform the antigenic COVID-19 swab tests to all embarking passengers."
Genting Hong Kong Ltd. suspends all payments to creditors
"Hong Kong-based Genting Cruise Lines (controlled by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kok Tay) on August 20 suspended all payments to creditors, triggering a 36% drop in the company's shares and denting the investors' confidence in Lim’s business empire. Genting Hong Kong Ltd announced it will use its available funds in order to maintain critical services for the company's operations and asked creditors "to form a steering committee to evaluate a planned restructuring proposal," a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange said. As of July 31, the company owed a total of US$3.4 billion. Genting Hong Kong (GHK) blamed the cash crunch on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and said the payment halt would likely result in default. As of April 3, Lim owned 69% of the shares of the Hong Kong unit, according to Bloomberg. Malaysia’s conglomerate Genting Bhd. and its units had imposed a first group-wide salary cut since its establishment in 1965."
Victoria BC could remain closed to cruise ships until 2022
"One popular cruise destination is questioning whether its port would open at all in 2021. Unfortunately, because the cruise port is the one located in Victoria, British Columbia, it could have a far-reaching impact when it comes to the 2021 Alaska cruise season. CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbor Authority, Ian Robertson, expressed his concerns last week. The fact that parts of the world, and in particular the United States, have struggled to get the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis under control is raising red flags and, as a result, Robertson is not sure what to expect moving forward. “In the spring, I felt positive about cruising returning in some form or another in 2021,” he said. “I have a little bit more cautious optimism as we speak.” Before the cruise port can welcome back ships, he added that "a lot needs to change.” "
Marella Cruises once again extends pause in operations until November 15
"The third-largest cruise line in the United Kingdom, Marella Cruises, announced that it had once again extended its pause in sailings until November 15, 2020. The cruise company, which is operated by TUI UK, said that was “due to on-going uncertainty around travel restrictions” due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Marella Cruises had previously extended its suspension of operations until September 30. All cruisers whose bookings are impacted can choose from a variety of flexible options including to receive a refund credit, amending the booking for free with a 10% incentive of the value of their original booking, and up to 10% incentive of the value of the booking or request a full refund."
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the articles above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this e-Newsletter
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