Three major cruise companies, Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and Seabourn, have just announced some serious cancellations for their next few months of itineraries. These cancellations come at a bit of a confusing time for the cruise industry in the U.S. right now. There are rumors of the White House allowing cruising soon. These come alongside the White House taking a stand against the CDC No Sail Order. Still, it’s as unclear as ever what will happen next month (or even the months after that). One thing is certain, however: none of these cruise lines will be sailing particularly soon.
Royal Caribbean Group
The cancellations from Royal Caribbean that were announced on October 6th were very simple. None of the cruise lines under Royal Caribbean Group will be sailing until after November 2020. While the biggest cruise line that is affected by this is obviously Royal Caribbean, they also own Azamara, Celebrity, and Silversea. Some cancellations extended beyond November, as well. Azamara will no longer be running its 2020/2021 winter program in Africa, South America, and Oceania. Likewise, Celebrity is cancelling its 2020/2021 winter program in Asia and Australia. Interestingly enough, the CEO of Royal Caribbean Group had just said earlier the same day that he was feeling good about the odds of being able to sail out of the United States in 2020. It is likely that he still feels this way despite these cancellations, but it is relatively unclear.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Like Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) is a large corporation which owns several different cruise lines. Also like Royal Caribbean Group, they announced in early October that they would not be sailing through November. These cancellations apply to their three cruise lines, Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent. Additionally, two of Norwegian’s ships, Norwegian Star Dawn and Norwegian Spirit, had all itineraries cancelled until April 2021. The only statement they have released about refunds thus far says that anyone affected by these cancellations should either contact their travel agent or their respective cruise line.
The luxury line Seabourn announced on October 6th cancellations for three of its ships: Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Odyssey, and Seabourn Ovation. Odyssey has had all sailings cancelled up until January 16th, 2021. Ovation’s cancellations extend until April 18th, 2021, while Encore’s cancellations go until May 28th, 2021. This is a pretty huge delay compared to what other companies are currently planning. Seabourn’s two other ships – Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest – have not yet had such severe cancellations. It is still possible they will face similar circumstances, however.
It remains to be seen what these cancellations mean. They may indicate further delays for the restart of the cruise industry. It is possible, however, that cruising could return to the U.S. sooner than we think. Things should become clearer in the next few weeks.