Ten cruise ships still at sea

Transatlantic Cruise Aboard 'Queen Mary 2'
Queen Mary in New York

Most of the world’s cruise ships are idle because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but 10 vessels carrying about 8,000 passengers were still at sea on Wednesday.

Some of the ships were on world cruises that started at the beginning of January. Some have ill passengers aboard. The challenge is to get passengers home when many ports are closed.

“This has been a complex process with teams of people working day and night to coordinate a safe and orderly return to port for passengers and crew and cruise lines working under the direction of governments and health authorities at every step,” said Anne Madison, a spokesperson for cruise trade group CLIA.

Holland America Line’s Zaandam has gotten the most media attention because of its arduous journey and because four passengers have died on the ship.

The Zaandam departed on March 7 from Argentina and is now cruising toward Florida, awaiting permission to disembark. The ship is accompanied by the Rotterdam, which met up with the Zaandam off the coast of Panama to deliver supplies.

The Zaandam’s voyage had been scheduled to end on March 21 in Chile, but it was turned away by South American ports. Holland America said 97 guests and 136 crew have presented with influenza-like symptoms since March 22. A few have tested positive for Covid-19.

Zaandam Ship Stats & Information- Holland America Line Zaandam ...

Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have been confined to their staterooms since March 22.

Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Pacific Princess are still sailing. Coral Princess has 1,023 guests onboard and Pacific Princess has 115, Princess Cruises said.

As of Tuesday, the medical centre onboard Coral Princess was reporting a higher-than-normal number of people with influenza-like symptoms. Many have tested positive for regular influenza but to be cautious, all guests are quarantined in their staterooms. All meals are being delivered by room service. Crew members are remaining in their staterooms when they are not working.

The Coral Princess went to Bridgetown, Barbados, for a service call on Tuesday but guests and crew were not permitted to go ashore. The ship is scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on April 4.

The Pacific Princess made a service call to Melbourne, Australia, to refuel and pick up provisions. No guests or crew were allowed to disembark. The 115 guests onboard did not meet IATA’s fitness standards for air travel or were not able to fly because of medical conditions not related to coronavirus, Princess said. The ship is now sailing back to Los Angeles, which is approximately a 21-day journey.

The MSC Magnifica made a call at Fremantle, Australia, earlier this week and has now resumed its journey back to Europe. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the ship had called at Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne.

MSC Magnifica | Activities, cabins, deck plans, reviews | CruiseBe
MSC Magnifica

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is on its way to Southampton, England. Most guests disembarked the ship in Fremantle, Australia, on March 14 and 15. The ship made a technical stop in Durban, South Africa, on March 31. The Queen Mary 2 will soon be sailing again and has 264 guests aboard, a Cunard spokeswoman said.

P&O Cruises has one ship still at sea — the Arcadia with 1,404 guests onboard. The Arcadia is returning to England and is expected to arrive on schedule on April 12.

“Social distancing measures are being rigorously enforced on board,” said Michele Andjel, vice president of public relations for P&O Cruises and Carnival U.K.

Other ships trying to make port, according to CruiseMapper.com, are the Costa Deliziosa, the Astor (owned by Germany-based Premicon) Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Columbus and the expedition ship Greg Mortimer.

Upcoming MSC Cruises Ship Deliveries

MSC Ship
MSC Opera

MSC Cruises has 12 ships on order for deliveries through 2027, including its new luxury brand.

MSC is also among the industry leaders when it comes to LNG-fueled ships, with four World Class ships set to debut with LNG power, as well as one Meraviglia-plus class ship.

The company’s newbuild order book is valued at $11.3 billion covering approximately 44,500 new berths.

MSC Cruises Orderbook:

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises is to launch a new brand campaign designed to support the trade during the peak Wave sales period.

Launching in January, the campaign – The Sea At Its Most – will appear on TV, in newspapers, on the line’s digital platforms and out-of-home displays.

Music to accompany the campaign has been created by Italian composer Ennio Morricone.

The line’s UK and Ireland managing director, Antonio Paradiso (pictured), said the campaign will help agents to “present cruise in a different way” to the customer.

Speaking as new ship MSC Grandiosa called in Southampton, he said: “The new brand campaign is supposed to support your daily business. You are travel agents, so you know the complexities of selling a cruise to customers.

More: MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

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“We always have high expectations for Wave and in Q1 we have the opportunities to get the message out and we know that the customers are more willing to buy a holiday.

“Over the years, we have been challenging those misconceptions and stereotypes about the cruise industry. We always focus on the word ‘cruise’ but we forget we are selling a holiday.

“[The campaign] will help present cruise in a different way and reduce all those questions about what it is really all about.”

Earlier, chief executive Gianni Onorato outlined plans for the line to carry three million passengers in 2020 and hit 5.5 million by 2027, by which time 12 more ship is expected to have been added to the fleet.

“We will continue to build ships and be as innovative and creative as we can,” Onorato said.