This Week in Cruise: Prima's Debut, Low Water on the Mississippi

Hundreds of travel advisors are returning Monday morning from the four-night New York inaugural sailing of the new Norwegian Prima. It sailed roundtrip from N.Y.C., visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, CanadaTravel Agent was aboard, so look for an upcoming story about the ship as well as Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) media briefing by Harry Sommer, the line's president. Plus, we'll detail some tidbits from a trade sales and marketing panel discussion and agent Q&A in the ship's Prima Theater.

In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings—parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises—conducted a presentation for investors in New York. One graphic showed a drop in agent bookings from 2019 to 2022 and an increase in online direct web bookings by consumers. Stay tuned for an update on NCLH's outlook.

Low Water on the Mississippi

Unusually low water levels along the Mississippi River have caused sections of the river to be closed, impacting all northbound and southbound shipping traffic, according to Viking. The line said in a statement: "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to deepen the shipping canal in some sections, but the closures have caused delays that will prevent the Viking Mississippi from completing the sailing underway and from reaching St. Paul for her next scheduled departure on October 15.

"All impacted guests and their travel advisors, if necessary, have been notified directly. At this time, we expect to operate all future departures of the Viking Mississippi as scheduled."

From American Cruise Lines: “American Cruise Lines' five Mississippi riverboats are all operating according to schedule along both the Upper and Lower River. Over the weekend, two of our riverboats were able to pass the affected areas along the Mississippi. Looking ahead, it is always possible that some itinerary changes might become necessary due to conditions along the river, but American has been cruising the Mississippi for over a decade and we are well-experienced in addressing possible changes needed due to unavoidable conditions along the river.”  

A spokesperson for the cruise line told Travel Agent that it is important to remember that ACL’s riverboats are half the size of most others and are designed specifically for the river (meaning, all shallow draft, with patented opening bows and retractable gangways). In addition, all ACL riverboats are followed by dedicated American Cruise Lines luxury cruise coaches on shore. "So, we are particularly well-equipped to manage most situations," she said.

At press time, American Queen Voyages was monitoring the situation. 

More Cruise News

It's "back to fun" in Australia, as Carnival Cruise Line restarted cruising for the first time in nearly three years as Carnival Splendor sailed from Sydney. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting led by Christine Duffy, the line's president, welcomed guests aboard. Separately, Carnival unveiled its live entertainment for the new Carnival Celebration.

As Holland America Line (HAL) prepares for its 150th anniversary in 2023, the brand is kicking off a year of celebrations with a special transatlantic crossing. Departing October 15, 2022, from the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to New York City aboard Rotterdam, the voyage retraces HAL’s first cruise back in 1872 aboard Rotterdam I.

Schedule-wise, MSC Cruises plans its largest ever U.S. presence with five ships for winter 2023-2024. The line also plans to expand MSC Splendida’s winter 2022-2023 Red Sea itinerary. Nearby, MSC Opera will serve as a cruise ship hotel in Doha, Qatar, joining MSC World Europa and MSC Poesia from November 19 to December 19. The dates coincide with the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

Oceania Cruises unveiled an elevated bar program onboard the new Vista. The upscale line also announced that it is offering free land programs on select 2023 itineraries

Starting early, Emerald Cruises announced that it's launching its annual Wave Season ahead of schedule. And Celestyal Cruises announced its new pricing model.

Related Stories

Explora Journeys Introduces “Ocean Wellness” Experience

HAL Announces New Health Protocol Search Tool and VeriFLY Update

Celestyal Appoints New Executives in North America

Hurtigruten Norway Launches Its First Hybrid Ship