Costa and MSC only major cruise lines to announce January return to service

While the rest of the cruise industry has largely hunkered down for another several months of suspended operations amid two new strains of the coronavirus, Costa and MSC Cruises have announced they will resume cruises once more at the end of January.

MSC and Costa have announced they will resume cruise operations in Italy on January 24th and 31st, 2021, while Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and P&O Australia have cancelled cruises through March, April and May.

Major cruise lines have begun rolling back their start dates as a new UK variant of COVID-19 causes case numbers to surge globally.

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Costa Cruises will resume operations with the Costa Deliziosa, sailing the three, four and seven day itineraries originally planned for Costa Smeralda, and MSC will restart operations in the Mediterranean with MSC Grandiosa.

Grandiosa will resume planned weekly cruises leaving every Sunday from Genoa and calling the Italian ports of Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo and Valetta in Malta, with embarkation available in each port in Italy.

MSC Grandiosa.

The company said the MSC Grandiosa will offer these itineraries until March 21st, after which she will remain in the Western Mediterranean to offer cruises from the summer program with a new itinerary.

From February 14th, the MSC Magnifica will also resume her itineraries departing from Genoa for 11-night cruises designed to enable guests to discover the West and Eastern Mediterranean in Italy, Greece and Malta.

Costa Deliziosa.

Costa’s decision to switch out Costa Smeralda with Costa Deliziosa, meanwhile, appears to have been due to the ship’s inability to enter some Italian ports due to her size.

“The company applied these changes to its planned cruise programs, with the aim of preserving the best possible cruise experience for its guests,” Costa said, in a press release.

“The decision to operate the Costa Deliziosa will allow greater itinerary flexibility to respond to any changes in the local COVID-19 scenario while maintaining a unique and exclusive cruise experience on board one of the most beautiful and welcoming ships of Costa fleet.”

Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled all cruises until at least April.

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The announcements by Costa and MSC come after several other major cruise lines cancelled planned voyages amid a spike in COVID-19 cases worldwide due to new UK and South African strains of the virus.

Carnival Cruise Line will now only resume cruises in early April, Holland America Line has extended its pause in cruise operations for all departures through April 30th, 2021, Princess Cruises has cancelled cruises through May 14th, and P&O Australia has postponed its New Zealand season.

P&O Australia sails a New Zealand season annually, but will only return to New Zealand for a dedicated 150-day season in July 2022, the company announced.

In Australia, Pacific Adventure is currently scheduled to begin sailing from Sydney on April 30th, 2021 while Pacific Encounter is due to call Brisbane home from May 7th, although additional voyages may be added earlier, depending on the timing of the return of cruising in Australia.

Norwegian Cruise Line has also cancelled its scheduled March cruises aboard Norwegian Encore, Escape and Joy. Encore was scheduled to cruise from Miami on March 1st; Escape from Port Canaveral on March 11th; and Joy from Miami on March 7th.

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