Cruise Industry Update: November 2021
As temperatures drop and the warm summer season comes to a close, passengers are excited to plan their upcoming holidays onboard their favorite cruise liners.
Cruise ships have been sailing from US ports since June of 2021. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 80 vessels are operating or planning to operate in domestic waters. Itineraries include sailings out Florida, California, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland and New York headed to the Caribbean and Mexico.
While some cruise lines have started with limited operations, many of the major companies plan to add additional sailings to accommodate for the busy season ahead. Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean all plan to add more itineraries and sailings onto their already booked calendars by the end of the year.
According to recent data, Cruise Lines International Association estimates that 55% of oceangoing capacity among its member lines had been activated by the end of September. The group expects nearly 80% of capacity to be in operation by December 31, 2021.
Chris Chiames, spokesman for Carnival Cruise Line, expects their capacity to greatly expand in the coming months given the increased demand to cruise.
Most operators started with significantly reduced capacity to give passengers more space. Now, the amount of crowding depends on the line and less restrictive CDC guidelines.
One guideline set by the CDC and cruise liners involved mandatory vaccination for passengers over the age of 12. Some ports are requiring passengers to show proof of vaccination in order to disembark while others require organized tours with the cruise cohort.
Most cruise lines expect their vaccination requirement to remain in place for the “near future. While some operators are discussing removing the mandate at the end of December, others warn passengers that they will not go away any time soon.
Additional guidelines including fewer passengers, mandatory testing, and face masks in areas where social distancing is not possible. Caribbean Fuels urges passengers to check company-specific guidelines and policies before getting onboard.