Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
The Great Cruise Shutdown is finally coming to an end.
Celebrity Cruises this week became the first major cruise line to operate a sailing in the Caribbean since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and several other major lines — including Royal Caribbean — are scheduled to start back up in the Caribbean in the coming weeks.
A growing number of cruise ships also are restarting operations in Europe and other destinations around the world, and a growing number of small vessels have resumed operations on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waterways.
Still, only a very small fraction of the world’s cruise vessels currently are back to sailing. It could be many months before a majority of cruise vessels are operating. Some lines already have said it could be well into 2022 before they return to normal service.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic 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.
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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 plans to restart cruises for Americans on the Seine River in France on July 20. Sailings on the Rhine, Rhone and Danube rivers will resume in August.
Azamara plans to resume sailings on Aug. 28 with a single ship, Azamara Quest, sailing Greece-intensive voyages out of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens). All other sailings have been canceled until September.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line plans to resume operations on July 2.
Birka Cruises has shut down.
Blount Small Ship Adventures has shut down.
Carnival Cruise Line plans to restart cruises out of Galveston, Texas, in July with two ships, Carnival Vista (starting on July 3) and Carnival Breeze (starting on July 15). The line also has announced plans to restart cruises to Alaska out of Seattle on July 27 using the Carnival Miracle and hopes to restart cruises out of Miami with the Carnival Horizon in July, too.
Celebrity Cruises restarted operations on June 5 with a single ship, Celebrity Millennium, sailing out of the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin (known as St. Maarten). Two more Celebrity vessels, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Edge, will restart cruises out of Piraeus, Greece, and Fort Lauderdale on June 19 and June 26, respectively. The line also has announced voyages out of Southampton, England, starting on July 3 (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.
Celestyal Cruises, a specialist in Greek Island cruises, restarted 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. More vessels are scheduled to resume service on a staggered basis in the coming months.
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 plans to operate some river cruises starting Aug. 29 and sailings on its new expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, starting in July.
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 throughout 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. Instead, Disney recently announced that Disney Magic would operate sailings around the U.K. over the summer for U.K. residents only.
Emerald Cruises plans to resume voyages 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 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 and will resume sailings from Miami in August.
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 restart cruises to Alaska with one ship (Norwegian Encore) and cruises to the Caribbean with one ship (Norwegian Gem) in August. The line has announced restart plans for a large number of its remaining ships for various dates in September through February 2022.
Oceania Cruises plans to restart operations in the Mediterranean on Aug. 29 with just one of its six ships, the 1,250-passenger Marina. Three more Oceania vessels will restart operations between Oct. 18 and Jan. 22, 2022.
Paul Gauguin Cruises initially resumed sailings in French Polynesia on July 11 but has since 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. The line’s four other vessels will restart operations between Oct. 16 and Feb. 15, 2022.
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.
Riviera River Cruises will resume cruises in Europe on Portugal’s Douro River on July 2.
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. More than half a dozen more Royal Caribbean vessels will restart operations out of the U.S. ports and in Europe in July and August.
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 plans to resume some Iceland and Greece-focused ocean cruise itineraries in June and July. European river cruises will resume in August with sailings in France and Portugal. The company hopes to resume sailings on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers in the early fall.
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.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image of courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club
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