Some Carnival cruise ships won’t resume sailing until March or later

Sep 18, 2020

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You’ll have to wait at least another six months to sail on some of Carnival Cruise Line‘s 23 vessels.

The Miami-based line on Wednesday announced that four of its ships — Carnival Magic, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Valor and Carnival Spirit — won’t return to service until at least March. One of the ships, Carnival Spirit, won’t resume operations until June.

All four of the vessels are due for regular maintenance in a dry dock, and the line said it was postponing their return to service until the work can be done.

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The announcement means that, even in the best scenario, the full Carnival fleet won’t be back in operation until nearly the start of next summer.

Like many major cruise lines, Carnival hasn’t operated any departures since March, when the new coronavirus was declared a pandemic. But it has been hinting that it may restart at least a handful of sailings later this year. The line has cancelled all sailings through the end of October.

Carnival’s announcement of an extended halt to sailings for four ships is in keeping with recent pronouncements from executives at the line’s parent company that cruising will resume slowly when it does resume. Carnival Corporation executives have been saying that any restart of cruising in the coming months only will involve a limited number of vessels.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)
The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic won’t return to service until at least March 2021. (Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

“Clearly cruise will not come back all at once”, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said in July in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. “We intend to resume operations with a small percentage of the fleet”.

Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line as well as Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and five overseas brands.

For now, Carnival Cruise Line continues to sell voyages on most of its vessels for November and December, though the line hasn’t confirmed that those trips will go ahead as planned.

Wednesday’s announcement will result in the cancellation of more than 100 sailings, including:

  • Carnival Magic departures operating from Miami through 13 March 2021.
  • Carnival Paradise departures operating from Tampa through 19 March  2021.
  • Carnival Valor departures operating from New Orleans through 29 April 2021 (including the transatlantic cruise from New Orleans on 25 January 2021, and the return from Barcelona on 26  February 2021)
  • Carnival Spirit departures operating from Brisbane, Australia, through 16 May 2021. The ship won’t sail again until 12 June 2021, when it will depart Singapore on a voyage to Brisbane.

In a statement, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said shipyard scheduling issues were a factor in the decision to put the four ships on long-term hiatus.

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival ships and itineraries 

“This extended pause in our operations has also impacted shipyard availability, and we’ve had to reschedule required dry docks”, Duffy said. “As we continue to work through issues related to our eventual return to operations, we are committed to providing our guests and travel agent partners with certainty where we can, although we regret disappointing our guests”.

Carnival on Wednesday also confirmed that two more of its ships — Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination — had been sold in recent weeks. The line had previously said the vessels would be laid up on a long-term basis but had not confirmed reports that they were permanently leaving the Carnival fleet.

Carnival did not say who was buying the two ships. But, as The Points Guy reported in August, Carnival Imagination already has been sent to a scrapyard in Aliaga, Turkey. Carnival Fascination currently is docked in Cadiz, Spain.

Since the coronavirus shutdown began, Carnival has disposed of four vessels: Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fantasy. Three of the four ships are now at a scrapyard.

Carnival started the year with 27 ships.

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Featured image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

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