This Week in Cruise: Norovirus Outbreak, PortMiami Accident

American Queen Voyages announced its intent to focus more heavily on its core U.S. river products. Thus, it’s selling Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager, two small, coastal cruising vessels. All currently published voyages through November 2023 will operate as planned, but AQV won’t return to the Great Lakes in summer 2024. AQV will continue to operate Alaska expedition voyages with Ocean Victory, given a long-term lease agreement for that expedition vessel. Separately, Albatross Expeditions charters Ocean Victory in winter for Antarctica cruises.

On Sunday morning, a 30-foot-boat and the Fisher Island Ferry collided at Government Cut within PortMiami. One person was killed, another seriously injured. Unfortunately, the accident obstructed the PortMiami Channel, which was then closed to both cruise and cargo ship traffic, according to an official notice posted on the port's website. Some 15,000 passengers set to disembark Norwegian Escape, MSC Seascape and Carnival Celebration on Sunday morning had to wait aboard. A similar number were set to board and asked not to come to the port until told to do so. Finally, the channel was cleared 11 hours after the accident, according to PortMiami, which said 33,000 cruise ship passengers were impacted.

During its June 6 to June 20 voyage, Viking's 930-passenger Viking Neptune had a Norovirus outbreak on board. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) boarded the ship in New York to assess the situation. Some 110 of 838 passengers, or roughly 13 percent of guests, were ill during the voyage. Nine of 455 crew members or just under 2 percent also were reported ill with Norovirus.

More Cruise News

In the Mediterranean, Holland America Line is introducing new "National Geographic Day Tours," while Virgin Voyages has introduced a special sailing in the region (August 27, 2023) starring Sir Richard Branson.   

The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s new Icon of the Seas, completed its first sea trials. Additional sea trials and outfitting work are planned before the ship begins service in January 2024.

Paul Gauguin Cruises unveiled its lineup of 2025 voyages, while Crystal announced the debut of the Aurora Spa, according to sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor. In addition, Seabourn announced a refreshed in-suite dining menu.  

AmaWaterways has joined the BranchUp social media platform as a preferred supplier. That technology company provides travel advisors with free social media marketing that engages clients and generates leads for vacation options presented by participating preferred suppliers.

Five-time Latin Grammy winner Luis Fonsi has been tapped by Norwegian Cruise Line to serve as godfather of the new Norwegian Viva, launching in late November 2023. He’ll name the ship and then perform with other Latin notables including Paulina Rubio, Marcello Hernandez and Pedro Capo.

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