Cruise Lines Prepare to Set Sail Again

Quantum of the Seas cruise ship
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is taking its first cruise since the pandemic.

A number of the major cruise lines have made significant steps towards rebooting their business for the post-Coronavirus period.

They include the announcement of plans for both 2021and 2022, the deployment of new vessels, and measures to ensure customer safety.

Targeting smaller groups is likely to be a feature of their marketing. We plan to bring you further helpful information about booking cruises for groups in the New Year, and invite cruise lines and agents to send us more information about their plans and their particular group offers. Please contact Darryl Murdoch at or on 07983 637844.

SAGA moves closer to sailing with COVID safety accreditation

Saga ship Spirit of Discovery

SAGA preparations for cruising again include becoming the first cruise operator to be awarded new COVID-19 health assurance accreditation by Lloyd’s Register, the maritime safety experts.

The safety accreditation is assessed against six key categories covering every aspect of ship safety where health risks are elevated: medical, policy, food, ventilation, accommodation and water.

Saga has been given the Shield+ accreditation, which is the highest category of health assurance. The new framework has been designed to reduce risk and provide greater confidence in the safety procedures on board to help combat infectious diseases on board cruise ships, including COVID-19, Norovirus and common flu. SAGA Ocean Cruises is set to resume sailing April 2021 on the Spirit of Discovery (pictured).

Princess Cruises Announces 2022 European Programme

Princess Cruises has launched its 2022 European cruise season, with 178 departures on 70 individual itineraries, to 114 destinations in 30 countries. They include the Baltic on Scandinavia and Russia voyages for the first time. From March through to November 2022, the Europe cruise season will feature five MedallionClass ships, including the new Enchanted Princess.

Some highlights of the new itineraries include:

  • 11-day Scandinavia & Russia: Roundtrip from Copenhagen. This features an overnight stay with two full days in St. Petersburg. Calls in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia and Germany. Ships sailing this region include the new Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess and Island Princess.
  • British Isles: 8 to 14-day cruises sailing from Southampton. Ships sailing include Crown Princess and Island Princess.

7 to 24-day Mediterranean cruises, sailing on Sky Princess, Regal Princess and Island Princess.

Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Odyssey of the Seas nearing commission

The Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship (pictured), has left the covered building hall in the Papenburg, Germany shipyard. This will be the first Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship to sail in the US and Europe, and is due to enter service in the spring, sailing first in Europe before a winter 2021-2022 of planned cruises from Port Everglades in Florida. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has begun its first cruise since the pandemic struck with a short local cruise out of Singapore to test new health and safety protocols without any ports of call on the Quantum of the Seas at roughly 50% occupancy.

Uniworld adds Cruise & Rail itineraries for 2022

Uniworld has launched ‘Cruise & Rail’ experiences throughout Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland and others, for 2022. Including itineraries like the new ‘Castles of Transylvania’ experience. This will combine a trip on Golden Eagle’s Danube Express train with Uniworld’s ‘Enchanting Danube’ river cruise aboard the S.S. Maria Theresa, where clients will be able to choose either a pre-or-post rail trip. Also available is a new Cruise and Rail option for Milan, Venice and The Swiss Alps. It is a 14-day experience travelling on the S.S. La Venezia and the Golden Eagle Danube Express.

More UK Sailings added

Groups looking for a cruise that avoids international travel to join the ship are being given more choice from next year. 2021 will see a rise in cruise liners offering more British Isles departures. From 2-day short breaks to 14-nights there are numerous itineraries departing from ports including Southampton, Dover, Tilbury, Avonmouth and Liverpool, from companies such as P&O, Fred. Olsen, Cunard, MSC, Princess, NCL, Hurtigruten Cruises and others.

MSC Cruises partners with ABP Southampton’s New Cruise Terminal

MSC Cruises are working with port operator ABP Southampton to operate out of a new fifth terminal at the cruise port. The UK’s number one departure port will add another terminal ready for the 2021 cruise season and will become the home port of MSC Magnifica for part of her second-ever full season sailing from the UK.

Tradewind Voyages launches sailing ship cruises from UK to Iceland

Tradewind Voyages, who launched in the UK earlier in the year, are offering their luxury sustainable cruises on square-rigged sailing ship, Golden Horizon, with departures in April and May 2021. The vessel is the largest square-rigged sailing ship in the world, a near-replica of a 1913-built ocean vessel.

One of the Ex-UK  itineraries features ‘The Wonders of Iceland’, a 14-night voyage designed to beautifully showcase the island’s incredible natural scenery and wildlife.

The 272-passenger ship will run nine individually tailored voyages from the UK, seven departing from Harwich and two from Glasgow. It will then head to Bali where it will sail itineraries featuring Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Alaska.

Cruise start-up Tradewinds Voyages is also to be featured by luxury operator Abercrombie & Kent, pairing them with land tours. Itineraries include a safari in Tanzania with a sailing to the Seychelles and a stay at Gleneagles in Scotland with a round Britain and Ireland voyage.

Tradewinds has plotted its itineraries to allow sailing without engines for 70% of the voyages.

Further newly designed sailing ships are due to be added its fleet over the coming years, with the design process underway.

Fred.Olsen pause river cruises

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines will not run any river cruise sailings next year as it focuses its recovery from Covid on ocean cruising.

It has terminated its charter with river cruise vessel Brabant, which is no longer scheduled to sail in 2021.

A spokesperson for Fred Olsen said: “We have enjoyed two years of European river cruising with Brabant, but feel that our priority must be on our ocean fleet when we resume sailing next year.

“This decision is with immediate effect, which means that our planned 2021 sailings aboard Brabant will not go ahead.”

Guests booked onto the affected sailings have been contacted and offered to transfer to any other cruise on sale with an extra 10% to spend when rebooking – or choose a “no-quibble” refund.

Emerald Azzurra super yacht readies for 2022

Emerald Cruises  has floated out new ocean-going super yacht Emerald Azzurra ahead of its debut in 2022.

The custom-built vessel will be fitted out as part of the build process at The Halong Shipbuilding Company in Vietnam. The 100-passenger ship is due to make its debut on 28th January, 2022, on an eight-day Red Sea itinerary.

The majority (88%) of cabins and suites will include a balcony. Other features include a marina platform for snorkeling, paddle boarding or swimming; spa, gym and sauna and a Zodiac for shore landings.

Glen Moroney, founder and chairman of parent company Scenic Group, said: “We are incredibly excited to see Emerald Azzurra successfully enter the water as the next stage of her build, the completion of the interior, commences.

“Once again Emerald Cruises is looking to the future and building a game changing vessel at a time when small-ship experiences are gaining in popularity.

“We can’t wait for past river cruise guests and new customers alike to join us on board our very own ocean-going yacht in 2022.”

Red Sea cruise prices start at £3,625 per person including return flights.

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