- Norwegian Cruise Line takes delivery of the first of six Prima-class ships.
- Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises no longer require a negative covid test for vaccinated passengers on short sailings.
- Seabourn Cruises’ first luxury expedition ship sets sail on her maiden voyage.
This week we’re looking at Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn Cruises, and a special Game of Thrones themed cruise.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Takes Delivery of Norwegian Prima
Norwegian Cruise Line officially takes delivery of Norwegian Prima. During the ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the shipbuilder officially handed the vessel over to the cruise line.
“Today we usher in a thrilling new era in cruising as we celebrate the delivery of Norwegian Prima, the long-anticipated first ship in our extraordinary new Prima Class. She is a true testament to our Guest First philosophy as well as our commitment to deliver unforgettable experiences that exceed expectations,” said Harry Sommer, President, and CEO of Norwegian.
Norwegian Prima is the first of six Prima-class cruise ships ordered by NCL.
The 142,000 gross ton vessel isn’t the largest ship in the fleet, but it’s packed with exciting and innovative features and the familiar freestyle cruise experience that NCL cruisers have come to expect. The shipbuilder boasts that the $850 million vessel features several world-firsts, including a three-story race track and the first charcoal sauna at sea.
According to Luigi Matarazzo, General Manager of Fincantieri’s Merchant Ships Division: “We’re glad to work with Norwegian Cruise Line to create a world-class series of ships, and it’s a proud day seeing the first of the six Prima Class vessels delivered today. Norwegian Prima is packed with world-firsts, never-before-seen features, and extraordinary attractions you would never expect at sea”.
After the ceremony, Prima will sail to Reykjavik, Iceland, where she will become the first major cruise ship christened in the country.
Godmother Katy Perry will christen the ship and perform at the naming ceremony on August 27, 2022.
Following the christening, the ship will embark on her maiden voyage to Amsterdam.
Royal Caribbean Group Lifts Testing Protocols on Short Sailings
This week, Royal Caribbean Group announced it will lift testing for vaccinated guests on short voyages.
The change will take effect on August 8, 2022, on the brand’s three cruise lines; Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.
Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) CEO Jason Liberty announced the news in the company’s second-quarter earnings report. “Last week, the CDC ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. Based on this change, we are continuing to adapt our protocols to align more closely with how the rest of society and other travel and leisure businesses are operating,” he said.
“This means that we’re transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us while always working with our destination partners to meet their regulations. Starting Aug. 8, testing will be required for unvaccinated guests on all voyages and for vaccinated guests only on voyages that are six nights or longer.”
Starting August 8, 2022, vaccinated passengers will no longer need to provide a negative Covid-19 test to sail on sailings of five nights or fewer.
The change will significantly improve pre-cruise planning as most Royal Caribbean International itineraries are fewer than six days long.
Unvaccinated passengers, and all passengers on sailings of six or more nights, are required to provide a valid negative test to embark.
In the announcement, the company said they are looking to drop testing on longer cruises and remove vaccination requirements. They did not mention dates for when this would come into effect.
The news follows the surprise announcement by the CDC that they would be ending their cruise ship protocols. The cruise lines follow similar decisions by Virgin Voyages and Margaritaville at Sea, which announced the end of testing requirements last week.
Royal Caribbean Group, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silverseas cruises, reached a milestone last month when all its ships returned to service.
In the same announcement, Jason Liberty shared, “since our return to service last year, we have seen more than 3 million guests enjoy cruise vacations responsibly, under an evolving operating environment.”
The company expects load factors to average around 95% across the fleet during the third quarter of 2022. They expect the load factor to increase to triple digits by the end of the year.
With higher load factors, the cruise operator is expecting a return to profitability in the third quarter.
Seabourn’s First Luxury Expedition Ships Sets Sail
Seabourn Venture officially entered service on Wednesday. The exploration ship welcomed passengers on a 12-day Northern Isles expedition, departing from Tromsø, Norway.
Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn, celebrated the news saying: “Exploration has always been part of our brand legacy, but the launch of Seabourn Venture turns the page on a new chapter for us, offering our guests opportunities to explore remote destinations in every corner of the globe and truly be a part of the natural wonders, wildlife, history, and culture they’ll find there.”
“Seabourn guests are as passionate about discovery as they are about traveling in ultra-luxury, and Seabourn Venture offers a new type of expedition experience allowing our guests to discover the magnificence from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”
Venture is the first of two new purpose-built expedition ships ordered by luxury cruise line Seabourn Cruises. The expedition ship features 132 oceanview suites, the Bow Lounge for watching sea life, the Discovery Center learning center, and two submarines.
Guests aboard the ultra-luxury cruise ship can expect the same high-service levels found on traditional Seabourn vessels. Passengers can expect all-inclusive food, drinks, Caviar, and Champagne.
Additionally, the ship has enough kayaks and Zodiacs to accommodate every guest on large expeditions.
During expeditions, guests are led by a team of professionals, including scientists, historians, and wilderness experts.
Game of Thrones Themed Cruise Set to Sail This Summer
Game of Thrones fans have something to look forward to this August, with a seven-night-themed cruise sailing on August 20, 2022.
Sail Croatia is offering the Game of Thrones-themed cruise, which includes stops in several ports where the show was filmed.
The cruise includes visits to several locations of iconic settings from the show, including Blackwater Bay, the Walk of Shame, and the Red Keep.
The cruise takes place on Sail Croatia’s 38-passenger ship, Mali Ante. The round-trip cruise departs from Split. The show used the city to film many famous scenes, including the dungeon where Daenerys kept her dragons.
Mali Ante features 38 cabins, a hot tub, a swimming platform, and sun loungers. The ship was built in 1988 but was rebuilt in 2013 to provide updated amenities for guests.
Cruise fares for the Game of Thrones themed cruise start at $1,139 per person. Fans can learn more at: sail-croatia.com/specials/game-of-thrones-cruise.
Over 2.6 Million Cruisers Sailed to Mexico in the First Five Months of 2022
In another sign that cruising is back, the Government of Mexico announced that more than 2.6 million cruise passengers arrived in the country via cruise ship.
From January to May 2022, the country announced that1,248 cruise ships visited Mexico.
Talking about the resumption of cruising to Mexico, Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said: “We are delighted to resume our Carnival Panorama sailings and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the beauty of Puerto Vallarta while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.”
Western Caribbean itineraries often feature stops in multiple Mexican cruise ports, including Cozumel and Costa Maya.