Both 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 Officer Capt. John Murray, there were four cancellations that were scheduled to set sail from Port Canaveral. Two were sailings on the Norwegian Escape and two were on the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.
It marked the first cruises from Port Canaveral to be cancelled since cruising resumed from that port.
“Those are the first and only cancellations I’m anticipating right now. I’ve spoken to all our other partners and they’re all going to continue operating as they are today,” Murray said.
During the Port Authority commission meeting on Wednesday, he estimated that the cancelled sailings would cost Port Canaveral about $500,000.
“It’s not going to be a significant impact. We’re losing two seven-day sailings and the two smaller ones,” Murray said. “I don’t know what the passenger counts were scheduled for those ships, but it shouldn’t be a significant bump.”
Cancelled due to “global public health environment”
There were 11 NCL cruise ships (see below) that have 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, it is possible that itineraries may need to be modified,” the company stated in a press release.
While 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 been filling up hospitals nationwide, especially 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 through and including Jan. 17, 2022
2. Norwegian Dawn cruises with embarkation dates through and including Jan. 18, 2022
3. Norwegian Getaway cruises with embarkation dates through and including Jan. 19, 2022
4. Norwegian Escape cruises with embarkation dates through and including Jan. 22, 2022
5. Norwegian Joy cruises with embarkation dates through and including Jan. 22, 2022
6. Norwegian Sky cruises with embarkation dates through and including Feb. 25, 2022
7. Pride of America cruises with embarkation dates through and including Feb. 26, 2022
8. Norwegian Jade cruises with embarkation dates through and including March 3, 2022
9. Norwegian Star cruises with embarkation dates through and including March 19, 2022
10.Norwegian Sun cruises with embarkation dates through and including April 19, 2022
11.Norwegian Spirit cruises with embarkation dates through and including April 23, 2022
The Norwegian Escape was scheduled to set sail from Port Canaveral on January 15 and 22 for regular seven-day trips.
Charter cruises with Royal Caribbean cancelled
NCL was joined by Royal Caribbean in cancelling a pair of charter cruises that were booked by music events on the Independence of the Seas.
“I don’t know if you remember the Holy Ship that we had a few years ago, the whole ship was chartered by a music group,” said Captain John Murray, the chief executive officer of Port Canaveral. “The venues canceled, so as a result of that, the cruise was not able to sail because they don’t any other bookings for the ship.”
The first of those was a jazz-themed charter cruise dubbed “The SuperCruise XIV.” On January 7, the group posted on the official event website the reason or the cancellation:
“The SuperCruise program scheduled for January 14-22 has been cancelled due to the recently issued CDC Level 4 alert for cruise ships. If you are booked on the 2022 cruise, please check your inbox later today for details on refunds.”
Similarly, the 2022 K-LOVE Cruise, a Christian music cruise which was scheduled to set sail from Port Canaveral January 24-29, also on the Independence of the Seas, announced it too was pulling the plug on the sailing.
They issued the following statement on their event website:
“Over the past few months we have been diligently working with our friends at Royal Caribbean to make this year’s K-LOVE Cruise the best one ever. We have been counting down the days until we can be together onboard. As anyone who has cruised with us before 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 forever friends. Unfortunately, the current health and wellness challenges make it impossible to deliver the K-LOVE Cruise experience at this time.”
A similar music charter cruise, Groove Cruise Orlando 2022, is still scheduled to set sail from Port Canaveral on the Mariner of the Seas from January 20-24.
“Speed bump” on return to normalcy
During Wednesday’s monthly Port Authority meeting, port leaders noted that Port Canaveral did well in the final months of 2021 and anticipated that trend continuing.
Michael Poole, the chief financial officer for Port Canaveral pointed out that in December, the port took in $9.52 million in operating revenue compared to the $7.09 that was budgeted.
The number of cruise passengers increased each month since the resumption of cruising in the summer:
- August – 94,000
- September – 139,000
- October – 206,000
- November – 251,000
- December – 283,000
“So, you’re seeing an increase that’s going along with the passenger counts that’s going up and our cargo numbers that are going up,” Poole said. “We’re seeing a million dollar increase month-over-month.”
The Carnival Liberty is also scheduled to begin three- and four-day sailings from Port Canaveral starting on January 24, a couple weeks ahead of its original schedule. The port is also looking forward to welcoming the Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas starting November 13.
Murray also cited the CDC’s decision to allow the Conditional Sail Order to become voluntary starting on Saturday, January 15, which he said is a key sign of the confidence the CDC has in cruising.
He argued that what they’re seeing now won’t be the way things will be moving forward.
“We’ll figure it out. I don’t see it as a long-term trend. This is a speed bump and I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue for us,” Murray said.