3 major cruise lines just made it clear their ships won’t all be back for a long time


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It’s official: It’s going to take many, many months for Norwegian Cruise Line to get all of its ships back into operation.

Ditto for the line’s two sister lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The three cruise brands on Tuesday announced restart plans for more than half of their collective fleets with restart dates for ships that still are five to nine months away.

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The restart plans covered eight of Norwegian’s 17 ships, three of Oceania’s six ships and four of Regent’s five ships.

The earliest restart date announced for any of the vessels was Oct. 16. Some of the vessels won’t be back in operation until February of 2022.

The announcements come as the lines prepare to tiptoe back into cruising over the next four months with sailings on just a handful of vessels and are consistent with longstanding plans at the brands to return to cruising in a gradual way.

Norwegian 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 start Caribbean cruises out of the Dominican Republic and Alaska cruises out of Seattle in August with one ship in each destination (Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Bliss, respectively).

Norwegian also has announced that two more vessels, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway, will restart operations in September and October, respectively.

Oceania plans to restart operations in the Mediterranean on Aug. 29 with just one ship, the 1,250-passenger Marina.

Regent plans to restart operations in Europe on Sept. 11 with just one ship, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Splendor.

None of the lines has operated a single cruise departure since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic in March of 2020.

Related: The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line

Frank Del Rio, the president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has said repeatedly over the past year that the company would resume operations gradually over many months.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“Our great cruise comeback continues to build momentum with today’s announcement of the return of 15 additional ships across our three brands,” Del Rio said in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s announcement.

In its announcement on Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line said it would bring back one ship in October, three in November, one in December, two in January and one in February. Specifically:

  • Norwegian Breakaway will cruise from New York starting Oct. 24.
  • Pride of America will cruise from Honolulu starting Nov. 6.
  • Norwegian Encore will cruise from Miami starting Nov. 14.
  • Norwegian Escape will cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting Nov. 20.
  • Norwegian Pearl will cruise from Miami starting Dec. 23.
  • Norwegian Jewel will cruise from Panama City, Panama, starting Jan. 20, 2022.
  • Norwegian Sun will sail from Hong Kong starting Jan. 28, 2022.
  • Norwegian Spirit will cruise from Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, starting Feb. 9, 2022.

In addition, Norwegian pushed back the restart date for Norwegian Joy from Aug. 7 to Oct. 19. The ship no longer will sail Caribbean voyages out of Montego Bay, Jamaica, that were announced just seven weeks ago. The line said it was moving crew from the vessel to Norwegian Bliss to allow that ship to restart sailings to Alaska in August.

The announcement leaves just three Norwegian ships for which the line has yet to announce a restart plan — Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn.

The three ships included in Oceania’s restart announcement on Tuesday are:

  • Riviera, which will resume its previously published voyage schedule beginning from Istanbul on Oct. 18.
  • Insignia, which will resume sailings on Dec. 21 with a Panama Canal voyage in advance of a long sold-out, 180-day around-the-world cruise from Los Angeles.
  • Sirena, which will resume sailings out of Miami on Jan. 22, 2022.

Oceania on Tuesday said restart dates for two additional ships, Regatta and Nautica, would be announced later.

Oceania added that specific itineraries for the ships for which it had announced restart dates “will continue to be evaluated for port availability and may be adjusted as required closer to the sailing dates.”

The four ships included in Regent’s announcement on Tuesday are:

  • Seven Seas Explorer, which will begin cruises from Venice, Italy, on Oct. 16.
  • Seven Seas Mariner, which will begin cruises from Miami on Dec. 18.
  • Seven Seas Navigator, which will restart cruises from Miami on Jan. 6, 2022.
  • Seven Seas Voyager, which will restart cruises from Barcelona on Feb. 15, 2022.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Regent now has unveiled comeback plans for all five of its ships.

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Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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