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500 Days Later, Every Major Cruise Line Is Sailing Again

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The cruise comeback continued to gather speed over the weekend as three more familiar brands returned to the water after an unprecedented 500-day shutdown.

Holland America resumed operations on Saturday as the Nieuw Amsterdam sailed out of Seattle en route to Alaska. Yesterday, it was Princess Cruises’ turn, as Majestic Princess departed the same port for her scenic journey to the Last Frontier.

Norwegian joined the restart flotilla frenzy yesterday as well, with Norwegian Jade departing Piraeus, Greece to explore the Greek islands.

norwegian jade exterior

Norwegian Jade (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

For all three lines, these represent the first cruises with paying passengers since the industry shut down in March 2020.

There’s more good news. After its own 16-month pause and the completion of a closed group test cruise, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line returned to revenue operations over the weekend. Grand Classica left the Port of Palm Beach, Florida, returning to her busy schedule of two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island.

READ MORE: Bimini Island Welcomes First Carnival Cruise Ship

Celebrity Cruises continued its rapid comeback over the weekend as well, with Celebrity Millennium setting off for Alaska, Celebrity Xpedition resuming operations in the Galápagos Islands, and Celebrity Eclipse coming back in the Caribbean. 

With those restarts, a total of eight ships from the 14-member Celebrity fleet have resumed service over the past eight weeks.

celebrity eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Carnival Cruise Line takes the spotlight this week, with Carnival Miracle launching a shortened season of Alaska cruises from Seattle on Tuesday. Carnival’s comeback continues this coming weekend, with brand-new flagship Mardi Gras embarking from Port Canaveral on a pre-inaugural cruise.

There’s plenty of anticipation for that one, as the LNG-powered, 181,808 gross ton Mardi Gras is the largest and most technically advanced ship in the Carnival fleet. With new accommodation choices and a series of ‘Fun Zones’ offering diverse amenities and experiences across the ship, the 6,500-passenger ship is attracting plenty of interest.

Cruise Radio will be aboard Mardi Gras this weekend, bringing you on the spot coverage of Carnival’s new pride and joy.

In another much-anticipated return, Disney Dream will resume voyages from Florida on August 9 with three- and four-night cruises out of Port Canaveral with a stop at private Bahamian island Castaway Cay.

In restarting sailings to Alaska, Carnival, Holland America, and Princess are following in the wake of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, which left Seattle July 19 as the first large cruise ship to head north in nearly two years.

serenade of the seas in seattle

Serenade of the Seas arrives in Seattle on July 17 (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

For Norwegian Cruise Line, the weekend restart marked the first time one of its ships has called a Greek port home. Norwegian Jade will carry guests to destinations including Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos, and Santorini through November.

Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, celebrated the milestone. “Welcoming our guests and crew onboard has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career,” he said. “We are excited to embark on the ‘Great Cruise Comeback’ with a brand-new itinerary and homeport for our brand, offering our guests an even greater selection of unique vacations at sea.”

READ MORE: Alaska Welcomes First Revenue Cruise In Nearly Two Years

Bruce Parkinson has written about cruising and the broader international travel industry for more than 25 years.

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