November Cruises and Beyond Canceled as More Lines Extend Pause

cruise lines continue to delay return to service
Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas (file photo)

Published Oct 7, 2020 4:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

The cruise industry is continuing to cancel cruises into the end of 2020 and beyond, despite the expressed optimism from the executives of the largest companies saying that they believed the restart of cruising from the United States would happen before year’s end. While the industry’s official position reported by the trade group Cruise Line International Association remains that ocean-going cruises have agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least October 31, 2020, many of the individual lines are extending their pause in operations.

The Royal Caribbean Group became the latest of the largest cruise companies to announce a further extension of its pause in operations. While group CEO Richard Fain was expressing his confidence and optimism speaking at Seatrade Cruise Virtual yesterday, the company’s lines announced additional cancellations. 

Royal Caribbean International extended its cancellations for one month until the end of November, while the group’s premium cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, extended its suspension of global operations for all sailings departing on or before November 30, as well as its entire winter 2020/21 season in Asia and Australia. The group’s small ship brand Azamara canceled cruises until its European season due to start in March 2021. The luxury brand Silversea Cruises also extended globally till the end of November, although some of its ships have had sailings canceled well into 2021.

MSC Cruises, while preparing to return another cruise ship to service from Italy in mid-October, yesterday also extended cancellations for additional sailings to the end of November. This includes the company’s planned launch from Port Canaveral, Florida in November as well as the Miami and Caribbean cruises.

The extension of the cancellation is also extending into the smaller cruise lines including those that focus on the higher-end luxury market. Seabourn Cruise Line part of Carnival Corporation yesterday announced that it is targeting a mid-January for one ship while extending the pause for two other ships into the spring of 2021.

Among the large cruise lines, only Carnival Cruise Line is continuing to target a resumption of North American cruises in November and even then on a very limited basis. Carnival canceled cruises till the end of 2020 and into 2021 for many ships, but continues to target resuming service in November aboard six cruise ships sailing from Miami and Port Canaveral.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings at the beginning of the week announced that it was extending its pause in operations until the end of November for the company’s three brands and 28 cruise ships. Other cruise lines, such as Disney Cruises, had previously extended the cancelation till December while other lines have delayed into 2021.

While the cruise industry has established the protocols which it believes can guide a return to service, they continue to work with regulators and destinations to establish a firm schedule for new sailings while also monitoring the progress of the pandemic.