When it comes to cruise news, it goes without saying that the shutdown, which has kept us from enjoying our favorite pastime, has been the worst industry-related story of 2020.
But now that we’ve passed the midway point of the year, it seems like a great time to reflect on the past six months.
2020’s Best and Worst Cruise News
So jump in the way-back machine as we go all the way back to January — seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? — to look at the good (surprise weddings), the bad (delayed refunds), and the downright bizarre (a literal cruise to hell).
Want to read more about any of the stories cited below? We’ve provided links to the original articles within each item.
One of the most popular conversations you’ll hear over cocktails on a ship is about the great bargains people got on past sailings. But we’re pretty sure YouTuber Simon Wilson wins this one hands down, given that he managed to book passage on a ship (in a solo stateroom) for only two dollars. No, seriously. Two dollars. To read about his pretty incredible experience, click here.
Worst Cruise Trend
With the cruise industry in lockdown mode, many of us found ourselves longing to get back on a ship. When would-be passengers expressed how much they missed their favorite form of vacationing, some people — including more than a few media types — tried making them feel guilty. “How can you think of cruising at a time like this?” they asked. Not about to accept that type of criticism, we made it clear that cruisers should not allow themselves to be shamed!
Weirdest Cruise News Story
They say there are two sides to every story, so we may never know what really happened when the German cruise ship Resolute crossed paths with the navy vessel Naiguata. What we do know is that the tale had a very unexpected end, with the cruise ship emerging unscathed and the military vessel sustaining so much damage, she sunk!
Most Unexpected Move
We were downright shocked when it was announced in May that Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford would be leaving his job at the end of the month. As if that wasn’t surprising enough, that same day brought news that Richard Meadows, head of Seabourn since 2011, would be making the same move on the same timetable.
Silliest Cruise Story
When the Weekly World News took a break from reporting on Batboy sightings to detail Lucy and Marcus Teegarden’s literal trip to Hell on the Mephistopheles of the Seas, the whole thing was so ridiculously over-the-top that we couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with it.
Coolest Cruise Trend
With the industry shut down and people unable to enjoy their planned vacations, “virtual cruises” became all the rage. With that in mind, we jumped on the bandwagon by taking readers on a three-day sailing aboard the Carnival Sunrise. The cruise-to-nowhere included a sail-away party, dinner at some of our favorite onboard restaurants and a nice aft-facing balcony, all enjoyed without leaving the comfort of your couch.
Least Funny Comedian
Like other passengers who’d exited Holland America’s Westerdam, onboard funnyman Frank King was quarantined at a Cambodian hotel until test results could clear him for travel. Unlike those other passengers, King declared, “I’m outta here” in favor of a speaking engagement he apparently deemed more important than the health and well-being of those he would later come into contact with.
Most Unique “Ship”
You’ve done so many cruises that there’s literally no itinerary you haven’t explored? Well, Disney’s latest ship, the Halcyon, promises to take you where no cruise has before: Space. The Final Frontier. Wait, that’s Star Trek, and this uber-exclusive Walt Disney World experience will be Star Wars-centric. But everything about the hotel — from its atrium to the “shore excursions” offered — will feel oddly familiar to those of us who love cruises!
Best Love Story
When Liza Garcia and Theodore Herrera’s plan to tie the knot in Jamaica fell apart, the crew of the Carnival Freedom stepped in create for them a wedding they’d never forget. From a visit to the Cloud 9 Spa for pampering to the ship’s captain himself officiating at the ceremony, this was exactly the kind of feel-good story we’re always happy to report.
When Holland America Line’s then CEO Orlando Ashford couldn’t get into the hottest restaurant in Seattle to try celebrity chef Edouardo Jordan’s cooking, he did what anyone would: “If I can’t get to the chicken,” Ashford joked at the event announcing the news, “I’ll just hire the guy!” And just like that, Jordan became the eighth member of HAL’s Culinary Council!
Unaware that the entire industry was only weeks away from shutting down, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that they’d be raising gratuity rates paid by all guests.
Of course, by the time April 1st — the date the change was to go into effect — rolled around, we suspect cruisers would happily have paid the additional fee if it meant things could go back to normal!
Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Sir Richard Branson offered a man who’d done him a solid a decade earlier a free cruise on Scarlet Lady. It all started when Steve Chandler tweeted the billionaire asking that he confirm an oft-told story about how he’d helped Branson out of a jam in 2010.
Turns out, Branson not only saw the tweet and confirmed Chandler’s story, but offered him a sweet reward for being a stand-up guy.