This Week in Cruise: AQV to Pay on NCFs, MSC, RCI Debut New Ships

In more good news for travel advisors on the pay front, American Queen Voyages updated its all-inclusive fares to include port charges, taxes, services fees and onboard crew gratuities, starting January 2, 2023. That means that travel advisors will earn commission on fare items that were previously non-commissionable (NCFs). 

In a christening ceremony on the Hudson River in New York City, MSC Cruises debuted its new 5,877-passenger MSC Seascape. Capacity-wise, the line is growing sizably and is focusing more on the U.S. market. For example, MSC Meraviglia will home port in New York starting in spring 2023, plus the MSC World America, sister of the recently launched World Europa and the line's largest ship class, will also sail from a U.S. port—yet unnamed—in 2025.

Also on the new cruise font, Royal Caribbean International officially welcomed Wonder of the Seas into the family with a naming ceremony held for the ship in Port Canaveral, Florida. It is the largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage, surpassing its sister ship Symphony of the Seas.

Updated Cruise Schedules

Shipyard supply chain issues have caused a delay in the new Carnival Jubilee's debut, originally planned for October 2023. Carnival Cruise Line has canceled the maiden transatlantic voyage and five Caribbean cruises from Galveston, TX. The new start-of-service date is December 23, 2023. .

The cruise industry's return to Asia continues. Princess Cruises will return to Japan in 2023 with voyages operated by Diamond PrincessPonant also updated advisors about what’s new for 2023. For instance, the small-ship, luxury boutique line will sail an expedition to the islands of southern Japan.

In Europe, Emerald Cruises added four additional 2023 Christmas holiday season sailings—two on the Danube and Rhine Rivers and two on Portugal’s Douro River.

Looking a bit further out, SeaDream Yacht Club unveiled its 2024-2025 plans for the Caribbean and Mediterranean. A “West Indies“ itinerary departing March 29, 2025, will include an evening call in St. Kitts, so guests can experience SeaDream’s new evening beach party. Also, the ships will call at several Mediterranean ports for the first time, among them Thasos and Ios, Greece.

More Cruise News

On the sustainability front, The Travel Corporation, parent of Uniworld Boutique Cruises and many other brands, has introduced verified net-zero targets validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). The company has also introduced an internal carbon fund to achieve net-zero. The group’s approach prioritizes reductions and eliminates the use of offsets, and its not-for-profit foundation, TreadRight, will move to prioritize nature-based solutions.

Sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor reported on Dream Yacht Worldwide's new plans for 2023. In addition, Luxury Travel Advisor was on-site in London as Cunard Line officials unveiled a sneak peek at design elements for the new Queen Anne, debuting in 2024.

Advisors were still answering client questions throughout the week about a rogue wave that hit Viking Polaris. The expedition ship was sailing to Ushuaia, Argentina, when the incident occurred. Sadly, one guest died and four others sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Viking said damage to the ship was limited.

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