Cruise Wrap: MSC reveals new health and safety protocol, PONANT to resume Arctic expeditions + MORE

Here’s all the latest cruise news from lines across the globe…

MSC reveals details of company’s health and safety protocol

MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato has revealed the full details of the company’s health and safety protocol that has been developed to support the restart of operations in the Mediterranean, to protect the health and safety of guests and crew, as well as the local communities that its ships visit.

The line has been working closely with the different authorities in the countries where its ships will call, to develop a comprehensive protocol.

A dedicated task force, with the input and support of leading external medical experts, developed a protocol with new MSC Cruises specific operating procedures that go beyond regional and national guidelines and effectively set a new standard. 

Whilst awaiting the necessary final approvals two MSC Cruises ships are making preparations – flagship MSC Grandiosa and popular ship MSC MagnificaMSC Grandiosa will offer 7-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean and MSC Magnifica will serve the East Mediterranean.

Their actual departure dates will be determined in accordance with the guidelines received by the relevant authorities. The itineraries that are planned, include Greece and Malta where the authorities have not only re-opened their ports to cruising and where they have approved the health and safety protocol to support our restart of operations.

For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.

Australian and New Zealand guests who are unable to travel can request a free Move Cruise up to 90 days prior their cruise to a departure for any sailing departing on or before 31 December 2021.  

PONANT expeditions to the Arctic recommence + Le Commandant-Charcot enters final stages of construction

Ponant has resumed luxury expeditions to the Arctic. The first destination? Spitsbergen, aboard Le Boréal, with a departure on 18 July 2020.

The cruise line will also set a course through the legendary Northeast Passage before sailing onward to Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Arctic.

Between now and September 2020, Ponant will be undertaking five itineraries to the Arctic, four of them brand new.

Destinations include the Bering Strait; Chukotka, one of the most remote parts of the world; Svalbard and its Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve; the Kuril Islands, and the Northeast Passage.

Meanwhile, Le Commandant-Charcot has arrived at the Joubert dry dock in Saint-Nazaire where it will be fitted with two Azipod ABB (azimuthing electric podded drive) propulsors, with both electric motors driving a five-blade propeller.

Each of the pods can pivot 360 degress, thereby providing propulsion in all directions thus offering great manoeuvrability, particularly in the extreme polar regions where the ship will be operating.

In parallel with this fitment work, the ship’s Polar Class 2 rated hull will also be painted, then it will return to the Søviknes shipyard, where final fitting-out, including its interiors, will be completed, before scheduled delivery in 2021 and commencement of its inaugural polar voyages.

These will include the Bellingshausen Sea in Antarctica (departing Puerto Montt, Chile on 1 November 2021) and three expeditions to the Geographic North Pole (each departing Longyearbyen, Norway in July and August 2021).

​Hurtigruten temporarily suspends all expedition cruises

As a response to the coronavirus outbreak on board MS Roald Amundsen (which you can read about here), Hurtigruten has temporarily suspended all expedition sailings on MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen until further notice.

Carnival Corporation delivers two retired cruise ships for responsible recycling in Turkey

Carnival Corporation has made agreements with maritime reclamation and recycling specialists EGE CELIK and SIMSEKLER to responsibly dismantle and recycle two retired ships scheduled to leave its fleet.

The move comes as part of the company’s strategy for a phased resumption of cruise vacations with specific ships and brands returning to service over time.

The recycling companies will formulate a Ship Recycle Plan for each vessel – Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration – that goes beyond what is required by consulting with Carnival Corporation’s advisor Sea2Cradle to ensure optimal compliance with key national and international environmental standards.

Each plan will include a complete inventory of hazardous and regulated materials and the procedures planned for safely removing and processing the materials in an environmentally friendly way. Once these materials are safely removed and processed, the companies will begin dismantling each ship.

Ships will be stripped of machinery, electronic equipment, glass, wood and other materials that can be directly upcycled for reuse in new ships, used in ship repair or repurposed for other applications. Steel and metal scraps will be salvaged and recycled for direct use or be sent to the mill for producing other products and goods.

Working on behalf of Carnival Corporation and as an added assurance, Sea2Cradle will supervise ship dismantling and recycling at the demolition yards throughout the entire process to ensure the highest health, safety and environmental standards are maintained.

APT announces exclusive Kimberley cruise with acclaimed chef Luke Nguyen

Luke Nguyen’s gastronomic journeys through Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar have become a popular highlight of APT’s Southeast Asia tours.

Now, with 2021 departures selling fast across APT’s domestic programs, the company has announced the return of the longtime APT ambassador, acclaimed chef, author and TV personality as the host of an exclusive Kimberley adventure in 2021. 

Nguyen will join APT’s 14-day ‘Kimberley Coastal Cruise & Purnululu Experience’ departing 8 July 2021, which includes a nine-night cruise on a small expedition ship, the MS Caledonian Sky, two nights in Kununurra and two nights at APT’s exclusive Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge.

Your clients can share Luke Nguyen-inspired meals with the man himself as he hosts the dining experiences, including a special three-course feast at the wilderness lodge, and savour dishes he has influenced throughout the journey.

‘Return with Regent’ extended for Alaska, Northern Europe and Mediterranean 2021 voyages

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has extended its ‘Return with Regent’ offer for bookings made by 31 August 2020 on Alaska, Northern Europe and Mediterranean voyages in 2021.

To celebrate the extension, the line is giving its valued Australian and New Zealand travel partners a $500 Visa gift card when they book any sailing through May 2022, between now and 31 August 2020.

In addition to the gift card incentive, travel advisors will also sail for free with Regent Seven Seas Cruises when they book any three suites before the end of the month.

The promotion includes a US$1,000 Shipboard Credit per suite and 10 per cent reduced deposits, as well as the security of Regent Reassurance, which allows clients to cancel their cruise up to 15 days before departure date and receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit.

The Regent Reassurance ‘cancel for any reason’ policy now applies to reservations made by 31 August 2020, for all voyages departing through 31 October 2021.

AIDA cancels cruises

AIDA Cruises has cancelled its planned short trips with AIDAperla and AIDAmar with departure dates between August 5 and 12, 2020.

The line is still in the process of getting final approval from its flag state, Italy.

After intensive preparations and consultation with national and international authorities and health experts, AIDA said it has developed comprehensive concepts for the restart, including increased hygiene standards and measures to protect against COVID-19 on board.

First mast installed for Sea Cloud Spirit

The Sea Cloud Spirit is taking shape, specialists from the Polish shipbuilding company Chorén have erected the approximately 54-metre high aft mast of the new tall ship in Vigo, Spain.

The 138-metre long, three-mast, full-rigged ship for 136 guests will be put into service this year.

The Sea Cloud Spirit is the third ship from Sea Cloud Cruises. On its five-star ships, the Hamburg-based shipping company offers sustainable and environmentally friendly cruises in the ambience and atmosphere of a private yacht.


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