This Week in Cruise: Relaxation of COVID Rules, New Cruise Offerings

More cruise lines removed or lessened their COVID-19 boarding requirements. Windstar Cruises dropped its pre-cruise COVID-19 testing requirement, and several Carnival Corporation brands—Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn—also simplified their COVID-19 requirements.

How are such moves impacting bookings? Recently, Oceania Cruises removed its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, given policy changes by parent Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Travel Agent sailed earlier this month on Oceania's Marina in the Baltic and Howard Sherman, Oceania’s president and CEO, and other executives were aboard to brief reporters about current trends as well as new culinary/beverage options on Oceania's Vista, setting sail in 2023. "Overwhelmingly positive” is how Sherman described the impact on Oceania's bookings the first week after the company adjusted its COVID-19 restrictions. He said that many people who've been on the sidelines are now returning to book a cruise. 

Countries too are adjusting their COVID-19 rules. For instance, Chile further relaxed its entry requirements for foreign visitors.

Product and Itinerary News

On the onboard product front, Quark Expeditions revealed plans for a new "Greenland Camp Experience."

MSC Cruises announced that it is expanding onboard activities, introducing new parties and themed events across its U.S. fleet. For instance, the new "Family Deck Party” launches on MSC Divina’s seven-night sailings from Port Canaveral, FL this month.

In luxury cruise news, Regent Seven Seas Cruises unveiled its 2024-2025 Voyage Collection, as reported by sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor. 

Tributes Continue

Last week Travel Agent published a tribute story following the passing of Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners. Feedback continued to pour in throughout the week. “Vicky was an incredible leader and partner in the cruise industry, said Steve Smotrys, vice president, global sales and trade relations, Seabourn. “She will be greatly missed but her footprint will endure.”

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