The cruise industry restart has been a bumpy process for years now. Things are finally starting to become more normal, however. As spring 2022 blooms into the most popular cruise season of the year, most cruise lines are doubling down on their efforts to restore their fleets to full activity. Right now may just be the highest level of business we have seen in the industry since the beginning of the pandemic. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time!
Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the companies celebrating this return. As of May 9th, they completed their Great Cruise Comeback initiative by bringing their final ship back into service. This means that their entire fleet is now sailing — a process that has taken since July 25th, 2021 to fully come to fruition. Harry Sommer, the president and CEO of Norwegian, felt enlivened by the news, saying, “This is an incredibly important day in our history and a defining moment for our future.” He added that Norwegian is moving “full speed ahead” in preparation for the upcoming summer season. You can visit the brand’s website to check out their full 2022 calendar and get in on the action.
Royal Caribbean is also feeling good about their transition back to full service. But rather than focusing on which ships are sailing, the cruise line is excited about the fact that many of their ships are now sailing at 100% capacity. One of their methods for reducing the spread of COVID-19 was to limit occupancy on their vessels, And while some of their ships are still at only 80% capacity, this is rapidly changing. “We have ships now sailing at 100%,” said the president and CEO, Michael Bayley. “And as we head towards Memorial Day weekend, we are going to see a significant percentage of our ships sailing at 100%,” he added.
Royal Caribbean is also moving forward with a few other initiatives that herald their return. One of them is working on a return to cruising in China. While the Chinese travel industry has been shaky at best since the start of the pandemic, Royal is now predicting that their ships will sail out of the country starting next year or the year after. While a 2024 return wouldn’t be ideal, the company is working hard to return in 2023. “We’re looking forward to returning to the market,” Bayley said.
Aside from this news, there’s plenty of signs that the industry is coming back to life. As per Cruise Industry News, 51 ships will be entering serving this month. Let’s hope that this trend continues and that we can all enjoy safe summer travels!