Cruises: Expert hopeful for 'July' return of holidays

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Many cruises have been on hold for more than a year amid the coronavirus crisis. However, as travel rules begin to relax in May, many cruise lines are looking to restart holidays.

Some cruise lines have planned to initially return to sailing from the UK with domestic sailings.

However, others are looking ahead to the future with plans to set sail around the world.

Here are the latest updates from some big-name cruise lines.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has extended its pause on sailing through to June 30.

The firm has also paused bookings on all but three ships for July.

All booking are now on hold, with the exception of Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista from Galveston and Carnival Horizon from Miami.

A spokesperson for the cruise line said in a statement: “We have taken no other actions on these cruises, and will update guests and travel agents once we finalise plans for the resumption of guest operations under the new CDC guidelines.”

The cruise line has not said whether or not passengers will need to be vaccinated in order to travel.

Cruises out of Australia are suspended into August and September 2021.

Guests can select from a refund credit note or a full refund of the amount paid.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises, part of the Royal Caribbean Group, has suspended all sailings until June 30.

Cruises are anticipated to resume from July 2021 with the exception of a select few cruises.

Celebrity Millennium Cruises from State Maarten are due to resume from June 5, 2021.

Celebrity Apex Cruises from Greece are due to resume June 19, 2021.

Celebrity Silhouette Cruises from the UK are due to resume July 3, 2021.

UK cruises will depart from Southampton and call at Belfast and Glasgow.

In a statement on its website, the cruise line said: “Celebrity Cruises announced today that it is extending the suspension of some sailings, including all sailings from the United States until June 30, while continuing its measured return to service with more sailings scheduled from different regions around the world.

“While we continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and government authorities around the world, we have made the following adjustments to upcoming 2021 itineraries:

“Suspending sailings through June 30.

“Excluding all ships which have recently announced many new homeports around the globe.”


Cunard is due to return to service with an array of UK domestic sailings taking place between July and October 2021.

These cruises will take place onboard Queen Elizabeth and tickets went on sale in March.

“With the UK Government confirming that domestic travel is close on the horizon, we are introducing a series of exciting, shorter duration holidays for British residents looking for the perfect staycation in Cunard luxury this summer,” said Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard.

“These will be sailings from Southampton, for UK residents, around the UK and will make the very most of the summer sunshine.”

Voyages will last between three and 12 nights, spanning notable scenic views around the British Isles such as the Jurassic Coast and Scotland.

However, some international cruises remain on hold due to “international travel restrictions.

According to the Cunard website, sailings on Queen Victoria are now cancelled for departures up to and including August 27, 2021.

Queen Elizabeth’s summer Mediterranean fly-cruise season and all departures up to and including October 11, 2021 are cancelled.

Queen Mary 2’s current programme of departures up to and including November 12, 2021 are cancelled.

Customers impacted by cancellations will be credited with a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) worth 125 percent of the amount paid. Customers are also entitled to a refund of the amount paid.

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Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has suspended all US sailings through June 30, 2021.

The family-friendly cruise line is set to sail an array of UK domestic cruises throughout the summer.

However, it has warned cruise guests over the age of 18 must have received both of their COVID-19 vaccines for these sailings.

In addition, passengers of all ages will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test.

A statement on the Disney Cruise website reads: “Guests booked on affected sailings, who have paid their reservation in full, will be offered the choice of a cruise credit to be used for a future sailing or a full refund.

“Guests, who have not paid their reservations in full, will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far.”

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises are set to return to sailing in the summer with a selection of UK cruises departing from Southampton and Newcastle.

However, the cruise line has cancelled further international cruises.

In a statement on its website, parent company TUI explains: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty with international cruising Marella Cruises have extended its pause in operations for Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2 until July 31 2021.

“Customers will be proactively contacted to discuss their options, which include amending to another holiday for free or cancelling and receiving a full refund.”

TUI River Cruises have also delayed their first sailings until August 2, 2021.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has managed to continue sailing some of its ships throughout the pandemic in specific locations, however, Britons have been unable to enjoy a holiday.

The cruise line has since opened up bookings for UK cruises out of Southampton onboard the MSC Virtuosa.

Cruises will begin from May 20, 2021.

Cruises from the US are set to resume from June 2021.

In a statement on its website, MSC explains: “For cancelled cruises, guests will automatically receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) to use. Your FCC will be emailed directly to you or your travel agent. If you still prefer a refund, you may call us after you receive your FCC.”

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has extended its suspension of sailing through June 30.

Cruises are set to resume from July 2021.

In a statement on its website, the cruise line explains: “Guests who had an active reservation on a suspended cruise will automatically receive a refund of their cruise fare in the original form of payment for the amount paid by June 1st for our April 6 suspension, and June 22 for our April 28 suspension.

“Additionally, a 10 percent off coupon will be automatically added to the guest’s account, if the guest has not already received one for a previously cancelled sailing or an account that currently has a 10 percent coupon.

“For affected reservations paid via a previously issued Future Cruise Credit, the full value of the FCC used will be re-applied to the guest’s Latitudes account within seven days. This is done automatically, and no further action is required on the guest or travel advisor’s part.”

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has been forced to cancel a number of its initially planned cruises.

In a statement on its website, the cruise line explained: “We are sorry to announce that cruises on Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura have been cancelled until the end of August 2021 and on Britannia and Iona until late September 2021.”

However, the cruise line will be operating some coastal UK sailings in the summer.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Following recent Government announcements and as the vaccine programme is rolled out across the globe we can all begin to feel a sense of reassurance and hope that this current lockdown period in the UK will come to an end. Life can, we hope, slowly return to some semblance of our previous normality as hospitality opens up and summer holidays can be booked with confidence.

“Whilst holidays here in the UK will be the first to become a reality we will, of course, gradually see the return of international travel but first we want guests to be able to enjoy a proper summer holiday at sea with the best in relaxation, entertainment and dining choice.

“These sailings will leave from our home port in Southampton and sail around UK coastal waters enjoying the summer sunshine.”

UK Cruises onboard Britannia will operate from June through to September.

UK Cruises onboard Iona will operate from August through to September.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises outlined plans to resume some cruises from June 30.

However, restart dates are dependent on the ship and its departure port. Cruise restarts are also in line with travel advisories at that time.

New short cruises will resume from the UK from July 3 onboard Regal Princess.

Regular UK cruises are planned to restart from late September.

“Like so many facets of life, travel has been hit hard by recent events,” reads a statement on the company website.

“It is with a heavy heart that Princess Cruises has made the extremely difficult decision to temporarily pause our global ship operations.

“We know you were looking forward to sailing with us, and we apologise and share in your disappointment over these cancellations.

“You don’t need to take any action to receive the default compensation offer.”

To discover full refund options, and more information on “default compensation” customers should check the details provided for their specific cruise on the Princess Cruises website.

Royal Caribbean Group

Royal Caribbean has announced plans to resume some cruises from the UK as of July 7.

These sailings will depart Southampton from July 7.

Other global restart dates vary, with the line also planning journeys from Cyprus and Bermuda throughout June and July.

Some global operations, including those out of the US, are currently on hold until June 30.

Customers impacted by cancellations prior to this time are entitled to a full refund, a future cruise credit worth 125 percent of the amount paid, or the option to “lift and shift” their holiday to a new date.

Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises has made plans to return to sailing from the UK as of July.

Under the new framework, all travellers must be fully vaccinated before being allowed onboard.

Cruises will take place on the Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery, sailing from Southampton.

Passengers impacted by cancelled cruises will be contacted by the cruise line to discuss either transferring their cruise departure date or opting for a full refund.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has cancelled all sailings on the Scarlet Lady ship through September 17, 2021.

However, the Richard-Branson owned cruise line is set to operate UK sailings from August.

Passengers will be required to show proof they have been fully vaccinated in order to travel.

The Valiant Lady ship is due to be launched from Miami on November 14.

Customers impacted by cancelled cruises will automatically receive a Future Voyage Credit that is worth 200 percent of the amount paid.

Customers can also request a refund for the full amount paid, along with a 24 percent Future Voyage Credit.

However, the cruise line warns this must be requested no later than May 27, 2021.

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