This Week in Cruise Recovery: Pandaw Gains Funding, NCL Heads for Panama City & More

In a good news development, veteran Asian river cruise operator Pandaw announced that it had secured new funding and expects to restart river cruising this fall. In October, the line announced that it would cease all operations, given pandemic-era travel restrictions within Asia. But with this new investment as well as Asian countries starting to open up international visitation, Pandaw now plans to restart voyages in September 2022.

Royal Caribbean International reported that 48 of 6,091 people aboard Symphony of the Seas last week tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Protocols were followed, those guests were immediately quarantined or left the ship, and no future voyages are impacted. 

Cruise lines continue to adjust pandemic-era protocols and policies onboard their ships. Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line and others tightened mask wearing policies late last week, while Carnival Cruise Line banned smoking within its casinos for the immediate future.

On the schedule side, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it would become the first major cruise line to home port seasonally at Panama City, PanamaAmerican Queen Voyages released its 2024 line-up of river cruises and small-ship oceangoing cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced 14- to 67-night holiday season voyages in December 2022 and 2023  

MSC Group's cruise division—in association with Bloom Energy Corporation and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Franceannounced plans to launch the first cruise ship operating on solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. Currently under construction, the new MSC World Europa will be fitted with 150 kilowatts of Bloom fuel cells. Bloom will provide auxiliary power to the ship through liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Windstar Cruises appointed Roger Arden as its new West Coast regional sales manager based in Los Angeles, and Brenda Skogen as the line’s new sales coordinator based in Denver, Colorado. She’ll be the primary point of contact within the sales department for Windstar’s travel advisor partners.

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