NCL Armada Arrives In Europe – Other Cruise News: Big Ships Go To Bat – English Holiday Cruises Re-Opens
by Kevin Griffin
Last week saw NCL sending most of its cruise fleet from North America to Europe, possibly with the idea that cruising may get an earlierstart in Europe than in North America, where the Centres for Disease Control have put a stop on all cruise activity. Elsewhere, after a number of trials by smaller ships, about ten larger ships are now being brought back into service on trial cruises in the Covid-19 era.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
NCL Armada Arrives In Europe
Last week we wrote about Norwegian Cruise Line sending a good proportion of its North America-based ships to Europe. With most of them having arrived this weekend, we now have further details of their current locations.
Some ships have been reunited with sister ships that had already been in Europe since May.
First to arrive were two of Norwegian’s newer ships, the 169,116-ton Norwegian Encore, followed by the168,028-ton Norwegian Bliss. Both were bound for Copenhagen, with the Encore arriving on Wednesday the 12th and Bliss on Sunday the 16th.
The next ships to arrive did so as a pair, with the 92,250-ton Norwegian Dawn and 75,904-ton Norwegian Spirit berthing in Siracusa on Friday the 14th.
And on Sunday the 16th, when the 145,655-ton Norwegian Breakaway berthed at Marseilles, she formed part of another pair of mega ships, as sister ship Norwegian Getaway had already been in Marseilles since May 25.
One of the last NCL ships to arrive, the 91,740-ton Norwegian Star, docked at Southampton on Sunday the 16th. She followed a non-NCL ship, Royal Caribbean 168,666-ton Anthem of the Seas, which had arrived the day before, on Saturday the15th.
The last of the present NCL “Covid-19 Convoy”, the 155,873-ton Norwegian Epic, is due at Naples tomorrow evening, the 18th.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Big Ships Go To Bat
After the trials of the small ships, it is now the turn of the big ships to go up to bat in the fight against Covid-29. This month and in September, ten larger ships are making such trial voyages, three each from TUI Cruises and AIDA Cruises and two each from MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises.
TUI cruises has already made a number of cruises from North German ports by the 111,554-ton Mein Schiff 1 and 2, primarily 3- and 4-night cruises to nowhere without port calls. These will be followed by a series of short cruises from Crete by the 95,128-ton Mein Schiff 6.
AIDA Cruises has been organising another series of 3- and 4-night cruises to nowhere by the 71,304-ton AIDAmar, and AIDAblu and the 125,572-ton AIDAperla .
Yesterday, August 16, 91,528-ton MSC Grandiosa set sail from Genoa on a 7-night Western Med Cruise.
She will be followed on August 29 by the 181,541-ton MSC Magnifica sailing from Bari on a 7-night Eastern Med Cruise.
MSC is testing all passengers on the pier with tests that can give a result within 30 minutes, and no passenger who is tested positive will be allowed to board. Only MSC-organised shore excursions can be booked and passengers will not be allowed to go ashore independently.
Meanwhile, Costa Cruises will start with one ship, the 92,720-ton Costa Deliziosa on September 6, offering week-long cruises from Trieste to the Greek islands. On September 19, a second ship,the 133,019-ton Costa Diadema will set sail, begin offering 7-night itineraries from Genoa to Malta, with a number of calls in Italy.
Only citizens of the 26 so-called EU Schengen countries will be allowed to book on MSC Cruises, so no UK or North American passengers will be allowed Costa ships are registered in Genoa and these sailings will be offered only to Italian nationals.
English Holiday Cruises Re-Opens
The Cruise Examiner visited a rather interesting vessel in the Port of Gloucester this weekend. This was the 2000-built Edward Elgar, an 88-foot vessel that was built and designed to be able to navigate the locks and bridges of the River Severn from Gloucester to Stourport, whilst also sailing the Canal that connects Gloucester to Sharpness on the Bristol Channel.
Recently refitted and modified to accommodate social distancing, the Edward Elgar’s itineraries will allow English passengers to avoid flights or the quarantines that are necessitated by travelling to certain EU countries at the moment.
Fares are all-inclusive of meals, drinks, shore excursions. In cosy en suite cabins and with pre-cruise hotel night ashore in Gloucester, on offer between now and the end of October 2020.
All voyages leave from and return to Alexandra Quay in the Gloucester Docks:
• Seven Wonders of the Severn (6 nights @£1,595 per person) – 7 & 21 September
• Heart of England Cruise (5 nights @ £1,315 per person) – 14 & 28 September
• Cruise to the Views (5 nights @1,275 per person) – 31 August
• Historic Canal Cruise (3 nights @ £495 per person) – 14 & 28 September, 5 October
• Unique Weekend Cruise (2 nights @ 315 per person) – 23 & 29 October
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)