Carnival Cruise Line Extends Operational Pause Through September 30
Carnival Cruise Line today advised guests and travel agents that it has extended its operational pause in North America through Sept. 30, 2020.
“During this unprecedented pause in our business, we have continued to assess the operating environment and confer with public health, government and industry officials,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy told booked guests and travel agents in a letter sent today. But she added that following the cruise industry’s announcement on Friday that it would voluntarily extend its pause in North America, Carnival Cruise Line is now cancelling all cruises through September 30.
“We have watched with great interest as commerce, travel and personal activities have begun to start back up, and once we do resume service, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we bring our ships to in order to maintain public confidence in our business. Nevertheless, we apologize for disrupting your vacation plans and appreciate your patience as we work through these decisions,” Duffy said in the letter.
Carnival initially announced a voluntary 30-day pause in operations on March 13, and has now extended that pause three times, reflecting the public health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is currently completing the repatriation of nearly 29,000 crew members to more than 100 nations who serve its fleet of 27 ships. As with previous pause announcements, Carnival is giving guests who wish to move their booking to a later date a rebooking offer that combines a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) and either a $300 or $600 Onboard Credit (OBC) that has proven very popular with their guests. Guests, as always, have the option to receive a full refund. The process is fully automated so that guests can submit their preference online and they have until May 31, 2021 to make a selection.
“We appreciate the patience and support of our loyal guests, and recognize how much they want to get back to cruising. When the time is right, our outstanding onboard team will be waiting to welcome them back and give them the great vacation that they deserve,” said Duffy.
Update From Carnival Cruise Line On Service Pause Extension
Carnival Cruise Line issued the following update to our news release today concerning a further delay of operations for most of our fleet until August 31.
Some of the media reports have not fully conveyed the contents of our previous media statement and why certain itineraries were not being cancelled. Carnival reiterates that this is our current plan contingent on a number of factors.
Any resumption of cruise operations – whenever that may be – is fully dependent on our continued efforts in cooperation with federal, state, local and international government officials. In our continued support of public health efforts, any return to service will also include whatever enhanced operational protocols and social gathering guidelines that are in place at the time of the resumption of cruise operations. We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation and will continue to keep our guests, travel agent partners and other stakeholders informed.
Carnival Cruise Line Utilizing Its Ships To Return Crew Members Home
Eighteen Carnival Cruise Line ships will rendezvous in The Bahamas over the next several days as the final plans are put in place to sail nine of the ships to repatriate more than 10,000 healthy crew members who remain on board due to restrictions limiting air travel to Asia, Africa, Europe, India and Latin America.
The ships have been at various U.S. homeports provisioning supplies and bunkering fuel for their journeys. Certain crew will join ships using water shuttles off the coast of The Bahamas. Once completed, nine ships will sail to their destinations with crew members from North American-based ships on board. The remaining nine ships will spend most of their time in anchorage positions in The Bahamas or Panama and eventually all ships will reduce their crew numbers to safe operational manning levels.
“The safety and well-being of our team members continues to be a top priority. Given the pause in our operations, we are committed to getting our crew members safely home to their families. We sincerely thank them for their hard work, patience and understanding during this process. We would also like to thank the government of The Bahamas for their support of this operation, as well as the CDC, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and local port agencies,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
Crew members who will be returning home have undergone a health check and cleared fit for travel by Carnival’s medical team. The company has been working closely with immigration officials in arriving countries on an efficient debarkation process. All crew members have their temperature taken daily and will do so again during the debarkation process, and follow enhanced operational protocols to ensure the health and safety of the crew.
Prior to Carnival’s pause in operations on March 13, its fleet of 27 ships had nearly 29,000 crew members on board. Since that time, Carnival has already repatriated more than 10,000 crew via flights and another 10,000 will be traveling on the nine voyages leaving this week. Approximately 6,000 additional crew will be repatriated by air charters or three ships that already departed from Australia and Long Beach. By the time all these movements are completed, the Carnival fleet will be down to approximately 3,000 crew members identified for safe operational manning, plus several hundred that will be repatriated as quickly as possible.
Carnival Cruise Line Signs Five-Year Agreement with City of Norfolk
Carnival Cruise Line today announced that it has signed a five-year agreement with the City of Norfolk to operate seasonal cruises from the Half Moone Cruise Center through 2025.
The announcement was made at a press conference by Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander who was joined by Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Nautical and Port Operations Terry Thornton.
As part of the agreement, the City of Norfolk has agreed to make investments at the Half Moone Cruise Center to accommodate larger vessels and provide an enhanced guest experience including a new boarding bridge that will streamline the embarkation and debarkation process and a host of other improvements.
At the press conference, Alexander and Thornton also announced that 130,000-ton Carnival Magic will become the largest cruise ship to ever sail from Norfolk when it launches a series of 12 cruises from the port in 2021 that will carry nearly 50,000 guests.
“Norfolk has been a valued partner for nearly 20 years, and we’re delighted to expand upon this relationship with this five-year contract that will bring exciting new choices from the Half Moone Cruise Center,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Our cruises from Norfolk have been very well received by our guests, and this new agreement speaks volumes about our confidence in growing this market.”
Added Mayor Alexander, “This is an exciting announcement. Carnival Cruise Line ships have become a welcome addition to our skyline. This commitment strengthens that partnership and solidifies Norfolk’s position as a true Mid-Atlantic cruise port.”
Variety of Onboard Dining, Bar and Entertainment Choices
Carnival Magic introduced many of the line’s signature elements now featured across the fleet, including the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant and SkyCourse, a suspended ropes course with breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below.
The ship also offers hundreds of balcony staterooms and suites – perfect for watching the passing scenery – along with a complimentary children’s programs in three age groups, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, the Ocean Plaza indoor/outdoor dining and entertainment promenade, a Serenity adults-only retreat and a WaterWorks aqua park with two massive slides, a tipping bucket and a kiddie splash zone.
Four- to Eight-Day Voyages to Tropical Destinations
Carnival Magic’s 2021 schedule from Norfolk offers vacationers a variety of options, from short getaways to The Bahamas and Bermuda to longer length voyages to the Caribbean, all departing from this convenient and centrally located homeport.
The schedule includes:
• May 16 and June 5: six-day cruises to Freeport, Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay
• May 22 and 31, June 11, and Oct. 4 and 30: five-day voyages featuring Freeport and Nassau
• May 27: four-day long weekend sailing to Bermuda returning on Memorial Day
• Sept. 29: five-day voyage to Bermuda
• Oct. 9: eight-day cruise to Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas
• Oct. 17: six-day voyage to Bermuda
• Oct. 23: seven-day sailing visiting Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau.
Prior to the start-up of its Norfolk schedule in 2021, Carnival Magic will offer a series of sailings in the Mediterranean and undergo a two-week dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, before repositioning to the U.S.
Additional Information and Reservations
Carnival Magic’s 2021 cruises from Norfolk are currently open for reservations.