RIce stop instead of a celebratory christening with champagne and maiden voyage: Many cruise ships that should leave for the first time in 2020 are still in the shipyards. And other new buildings are also being delayed due to the corona pandemic. When can holidaymakers set sail on the new ships? An overview of the most important shipping companies for German travelers.
Delay at Aida, nothing new at Tui
It is probably the most important watercraft for cruise fans in Germany: the “Aida Cosma”, the second Aida Cruises ship to run on liquid natural gas, will be finished later than planned. The premiere season should actually take place in summer 2021, but nothing will come of it.
The planned seven-day cruises from Kiel to Norway and the Baltic States from May 2021 will now be carried out by the sister ship “Aida Nova”.
The second major shipping company in Germany, Tui Cruises, had no plans to put new ships into service in 2020 or 2021. The “Mein Schiff 7” will continue here in 2023.
MSC: Two new ships in one year
The “MSC Virtuosa” is the fourth ship in the Meraviglia class, which offers space for a good 2000 passengers. It was originally scheduled to start its first season in November 2020. According to MSC Cruises, the start is now planned for May 8, 2021. The program includes 7 to 14 night cruises in Northern Europe from Kiel. The ship sails alternately to Norway’s fjords and the Baltic Sea.
The shipping company is sending a second new ship on its way in 2021: the “MSC Seashore” with space for up to 5632 passengers will be the first ship in the so-called Seaside Evo class to be on the move in the Mediterranean from August 1st. In November 2021, the ship will be transferred to Miami, USA, for Caribbean cruises.
Carnival: LNG-Premiere in den USA
Carnival Cruise Line’s “Mardi Gras” is the first cruise ship from a US shipping company to be powered entirely by liquid natural gas (LNG).
Contrary to what was originally reported, the giant ship with space for 5200 passengers and a roller coaster on board was delivered shortly before the end of 2020. The “Mardi Gras” had previously received its final equipment at Meyer Werft in Turku, Finland, and the maiden voyage with passengers is scheduled for April 2021.
“Odyssey of the Seas” should be ready in spring
The “Odyssey of the Seas” from Royal Caribbean International should also celebrate its debut in 2020. According to the shipping company, the 27th ship in the fleet will not be handed over until March 2021.
Initially, mini-cruises from Southampton in England and Barcelona will be on the program from April, before the regular summer season begins with cruises from Rome to the eastern Mediterranean.
This ship is also going to the USA in November 2021. The “Odyssey of the Seas” with space for more than 4000 guests is being built by Meyer Werft.
Not a good time for expedition cruises
The “Fridtjof Nansen” is built to visit extreme regions of the planet, such as the Arctic and Antarctic. The Hurtigruten expedition ship with 265 cabins went into service in 2020, but the pleasure was short-lived: After the corona virus broke out on the sister ship “Roald Amundsen” in the summer, the Norwegian shipping company canceled all trips until the end of 2020.
The virus also ruined the plans for the premiere of Nicko Cruises’ second ocean-going ship: the “World Voyager” with space for 200 travelers was due to start in 2020, but that never happened.
According to the organizer, the first trip should now lead to the Canaries in March 2021. In the summer of 2021, Nicko Cruises plans to use the new ship in the Mediterranean, among other places. The “World Voyager” is the sister ship of the “World Explorer”.
Finally set sail
The career of the tall ship “Sea Cloud Spirit” could be described as the never-ending story of the cruise. Laid down in 2008 as the “Sea Cloud Hussar”, the shipyard went bankrupt shortly before delivery. Sea Cloud Cruises only had access to the three-master again in 2018, and has been working on it ever since.
In 2020 the imposing ship should finally set sail for a maximum of 136 guests, but then Corona came. According to the shipping company, the maiden voyage is now planned for spring 2021: The tall ship is due to set sail from Palma de Mallorca for the first time with passengers on April 22, 2021.
Ponant stayed on schedule
The French shipping company Ponant put two newbuildings into service on time in 2020: “Le Bellot” and “Le Jacques Cartier”. The ships are one of the few new cruise ships that set out on sea voyages in 2020.
The “Le Bellot” was finished on schedule at the end of March and was in use around Iceland from July, according to Ponant. The “Le Jacques Cartier” followed at the end of June and sailed along the French coast for the first time in July.
Costa: First Europe, then China
The new “Costa Firenze” is actually designed for the Chinese market, but will first run in Europe. According to Costa, commissioning is planned for February 2021. According to current plans, trips in the western Mediterranean should begin on February 28.
According to the shipping company, the ship will sail in Europe in the summer of 2021. According to Costa, there is no final date for the “Costa Toscana” planned for 2021 – autumn is likely.
“Enchanted Princess”: Northern Europe in summer 2021
The “Enchanted Princess” with space for 3660 passengers is the fifth cruise ship in the so-called Royal Class of Princess Cruises.
The ship was originally supposed to be put into service in June 2020, but this did not happen until September. And the first sea voyage with passengers will not take place until 2021 – from May 22nd, as the shipping company confirms. It goes to the eastern Mediterranean.
There are also other cruise ships that will be commissioned in 2021 – some with a delay, some on time, including the expedition ship “Crystal Endeavor” (Crystal Cruises) and the luxury ship “Seabourne Venture” (Seabourne Cruises).
When the demand for sea voyages really picks up again, however, will depend on the course of the pandemic. In any case, there are enough ships.