August sees most cruise ships back in service since pandemic

The number of cruise ships that have restarted cruising continues to grow, with 190 ships from 65 cruise lines scheduled to operate cruises in August, according to Cruise Industry News.

The resumption of cruises by 190 ships in August represents a little under half of the world’s cruise fleet and is the most cruise ships to have scheduled cruise itineraries since the pandemic shut down the industry in March last year.

There are 190 cruise ships with scheduled itineraries for August, 2021.

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According to the Cruise Ships in Service Report by Cruise Industry News, the 190 vessels carry an average of 1,500 guests each, with a combined capacity of 275,000.

Royal Caribbean is leading the restart with the most ships back in service, and plans to accelerate its restart through the rest of the year and into 2022, while MSC and Carnival Cruise Line are close behind.

In July and August, Norwegian Cruise Line resumed cruises for the first time, with Norwegian Jade beginning a season of roundtrip cruises out of Athens, Carnival brought several ships back into service, along with its new Mardi Gras, and the first cruises from the US departed Seattle for Alaska.

This is in addition to Viking bringing two ships back into service out of Malta, and MSC Cruises expanding its restart to Barcelona and the United States.

In Asia, Dream Cruises and Genting relaunched cruises from Hong Kong, while Royal Caribbean revealed plans to do so.

Among key news items for August will be the continued restart in Alaska, a green light for domestic cruises in China, plus more ships from mainstream cruise lines re-entering service.

With more cruises resuming, COVID cases on cruise ships are also inevitably going to up, Carnival was the latest to report cases aboard Vista.

The strong rebound in the cruise sector, and plans by cruise lines to continue to bring more cruise ships into service throughout the rest of the year, is great news for the industry, but also means more passengers taking to sea.

With more passengers taking cruises, there will inevitably be more reports of COVID-19 infections aboard cruise ships. Already in the 12 months since the first post-pandemic cruises departed in July last year, there have been at least 220 infections, 85 of whom were passengers.

The recent reports of an outbreak aboard Carnival Vista takes that number even higher, but as Carnival Cruise Line has not revealed the number of passengers infected, it’s impossible to say to what extent.

The graph above shows a clear jump in the total number of infections from July this year onwards, but that has to be considered alongside the fact that many more cruise ships have been brought back into service.

Cruise Industry News’ reporting indicates that between June and July, the number of cruise ships in service almost doubled.

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