Carnival Corporation owned Costa Cruises relaunched its third large cruise ship in Italy while the U.S. cruising industry still sits idle.
The Costa Smeralda departed from Savona, Italy on October 10th with passengers on board making it the 3rd official ship from the cruise line to resume operations since the worldwide halt of cruising due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Costa Smeralda will take 5 week long voyages with port stops in La Spezia, Cagliari, Naples, Messina and Civitavecchia/Rome.
“It is very exciting to see our flagship depart once more from Savona, Costa's main port in the Mediterranean,” said Michael Thamm, Group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia.
The first two ships back in operation by the cruise line were the Costa Deliziosa and the Costa Diadema.
The cruise line was the second to relaunch large ship sailing back on September 6th with the sailing of the Costa Deliziosa which carries a maximum 2828 passengers.
Costa Deliziosa started offering weekly cruises on Sept 6 from Trieste and is visiting five destinations in Southern Italy.
The Costa Diadema resumed operations on Sept. 19 from Genoa visiting 6 ports in the Western Mediterranean.
- La Spezia.
The Costa sailings are only open to Italian residents and are only featuring Italian ports for now.
MSC cruises on the other hand is the first cruise line to successfully relaunch operations visiting multiple countries and allows passengers from within the European Union.
Both cruise lines require mandatory COVID-19 swab tests before boarding and have not reported a single case of COVID-19 since the resumption of operations.
U.S. Cruising Could Return Before End of 2020
While large ship cruising has returned to Europe, the U.S. continues to be extremely cautious on relaunching their cruise industry.
The President and CEO of Carnival Corporation said that he is confident that Carnival Cruises will be sailing before the end of the year.
“At this time, we have every reason to be optimistic we will be sailing in the U.S. before year’s end.”
Carnival has scheduled 21 cruises in the last half of December the cruise line is hoping to sail. The CDC no sail order is set to expire alongside the CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) voluntary suspension of cruising on October 31st. While cruise lines technically could potentially start sailing in the U.S. on November 1st, most have suspended their operations until at least December.
Royal Caribbean Relaunches in Singapore
The very first Royal Caribbean reopening cruise has been announced with government approval in Singapore.
Royal Caribbean's first cruise ship to resume operations will be the Quantum of the Seas departing from Singapore on December 1st, 2020.
The announcement comes after Royal Caribbean halted operations more than 6 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Royal Caribbean will require mandatory COVID-19 swab testing before boarding.
The reopening cruises will only be open for Singapore residents and will not make port stops in other countries.
Norwegian and Royal Caribbean formed a “healthy sail panel' to help bring the safe return of cruising in the U.S. and have proposed a 72 step plan to keep passengers safe.
The healthy sail panel was made up of experts from the fields of medicine, cruising and infectious diseases. They presented the plan to the CDC in hopes that it would lift the no sail order and bring the safe return of cruising in the U.S.
A wise course of action for U.S. based cruising may have been to work with MSC and Costa over their successful relaunches.
They are now entering their second month of relaunching operations with no reported COVID-19 cases on board.
It's not surprising that Carnival is more vocally optimistic on the relaunch of cruising in the U.S.
With Carnival owning Costa Cruises, they've had a good inside line on what is working onboard large cruise ships to prevent COVID-19. With Costa Cruises being the first cruise line with three large ships back in operation, Carnival will definitely be taking a page out of the successful relaunch.
As MSC and Costa Cruises continue to gain momentum from their successful relaunches, their leaving the rest of the cruise industry in their wake.
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