Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have canceled cruises from Florida. NCL said in a statement that this was due to “the global public health environment.”
According to Port Canaveral Chief Executive Captain John Murray, there were four cancellations due to depart from Port Canaveral. Two sailed on the Norwegian Escape and two on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.
These were the first cruises from Port Canaveral to be canceled since cruising from that port resumed.
“These are the first and only cancellations I anticipate at this time. I have spoken to all of our other partners and they will all continue to operate as they do today,” Murray said.
At the Port Authority’s commission meeting on Wednesday, he estimated the canceled sailings would cost Port Canaveral about $500,000.
“It will not have a significant impact. We are losing two seven-day crossings and the two smaller ones,” Murray said. “I don’t know how many passengers were planned for these ships, but it shouldn’t be a significant increase.”
Canceled due to “global public health environment“
There were 11 NCL cruise ships (see below) that announced cancellations and many of them have ports in Cape Canaveral, Tampa and Miami.
“However, as the global public health environment continues to rapidly evolve and destinations around the world modify their travel requirements or implement new travel restrictions, itineraries may need to be modified” , the company said in a press release.
Although Norwegian Cruise Line was not specific in the press release when it mentioned the “global public health environment,” cases of the omicron variant of COVID have filled hospitals across the country, particularly in the Sunshine State.
The cruise line mentioned in the NCL press release what customers can do to get a refund.
1. Norwegian Pearl cruises with embarkation dates up to and including January 17, 2022
2. Norwegian Dawn cruises with embarkation dates up to and including January 18, 2022
3. Norwegian Getaway cruises with embarkation dates up to and including January 19, 2022
4. Norwegian Escape cruises with embarkation dates up to and including January 22, 2022
5. Norwegian Joy cruises with embarkation dates up to and including January 22, 2022
6. Norwegian Sky cruises with embarkation dates up to and including February 25, 2022
7. Pride of America cruises with embarkation dates through February 26, 2022 inclusive
8. Norwegian Jade cruises with embarkation dates up to and including March 3, 2022
9. Norwegian Star cruises with embarkation dates up to and including March 19, 2022
10. Norwegian Sun cruises with embarkation dates up to and including April 19, 2022
11. Norwegian Spirit cruises with embarkation dates up to and including April 23, 2022
The Norwegian Escape was scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on January 15 and 22 for scheduled seven-day voyages.
Charter cruises with Royal Caribbean canceled
NCL has been joined by Royal Caribbean in canceling a pair of charter cruises booked by music events on the Independence of the Seas.
“I don’t know if you remember the Holy Ship we had a few years ago, the whole ship was chartered by a band,” said Port Canaveral general manager Captain John Murray. “The venues were canceled so as a result of this the cruise was unable to sail as they have no other bookings for the ship.”
The first of these was a jazz-themed charter cruise dubbed “The SuperCruise XIV.” On January 7, the band posted on the event’s official website the reason for the cancellation:
“The SuperCruise program scheduled for January 14-22 has been canceled due to the recently issued CDC Level 4 alert for cruise ships. If you have booked for Cruise 2022, please check your inbox later today for details on refunds.
Likewise, the K-LOVE Cruise 2022a Christian music cruise scheduled to depart Port Canaveral Jan. 24-29, also on the Independence of the Seas, also announced it was halting sailing.
They released the following statement on their event website:
“Over the past few months, we’ve worked diligently with our friends at Royal Caribbean to make this year’s K-LOVE cruise the best ever. We’ve been counting the days until we can be together. As anyone who has sailed with us knows that there are many things that make the K-LOVE cruise unique – the concerts, the worship, the fellowship – we are a close family of friends forever. Unfortunately, current health and wellness challenges make it impossible to deliver the K-LOVE Cruise experience at this time.
A similar musical charter cruise, Groove Orlando Cruise 2022is still scheduled to sail from Port Canaveral on the Mariner of the Seas from January 20-24.
“Retarder” when returning to normal
At the Port Authority’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, port executives noted that Port Canaveral had performed well in the final months of 2021 and expected that trend to continue.
Michael Poole, chief financial officer of Port Canaveral, pointed out that in December the port took in $9.52 million in operating revenue, against $7.09 budgeted.
The number of cruise passengers has increased every month since the resumption of summer cruising:
- August – 94,000
- September – 139,000
- October – 206,000
- November – 251,000
- December – 283,000
“So you see an increase that goes along with the number of passengers going up and our cargo numbers going up,” Poole said. “We’re seeing a $1 million increase month over month.”
The Carnival Liberty is also set to begin three- and four-day sailings from Port Canaveral from January 24, a few weeks ahead of its original schedule. The port is also looking forward to welcoming the Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas from 13 November.
Murray also cited the CDC’s decision to allow the Conditional Sail Order to become volunteers beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, which he said is a key sign of the CDC’s confidence in the cruise.
He argued that what they see now will not be the way things go.
“We will find a solution. I don’t see this as a long term trend. It’s a speed bump and I don’t think it’s going to be a big problem for us,” Murray said.