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Port Canaveral predicts cruises could restart in July


Everyone is trying to get an idea of when cruises might restart by "reading between the lines", so perhaps Port Canaveral's commissioner meeting could shed some light on the subject.

Port Canaveral holds public meetings to discuss the port's business operations and plan its budget accordingly.  Ordinarily, this is pretty mundane information to digest, but it includes some speculation on when it can expect more revenue in the form of cruise ships returning.

According to Port Canaveral officials, they seem to think some cruises might return in July.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Port Canaveral CEO Captain John Murray said he believes by July, the Covid-19 vaccine will be widely distributed and the industry could get restarted.

Captain Murray explained, "The issue with July is, we’ve been doing this now for a year and you can take a very practical look at how things are happening.”

"We have a new administration. The cruise lines themselves have kicked everything down the road for three months already, or at least through March and April. The reality given the pandemic right now, until those numbers start coming down, we just don’t see that this industry is going to get any attention that it needs to get restarted."

Port Canaveral's projection is based on what officials now foresee as a worst case scenario.  Under this worst case scenario they are estimating cruise lines will each have at least one ship sailing by July even though current data suggest ships will sail before that.

The revised dates were arrived at independently and are not based on any cruise line statements.

He also seems to think the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has no interest in working with the cruise lines until the health situation in this country improves, "The CDC’s motivation right now to put the cruise lines back on the water is not there, and probably won’t be there for the next three months."

"So rather than look at this entire operation and say, ‘Well, let’s just kick the can to April and then we’ll look at it again,’ it doesn’t make any sense to keep coming back to you guys with a rosy picture that we’re going to start in April or May and then say, ‘Whoop, that didn’t happen.’ So we took the very hard approach of, like I say, ripping off the Band-Aid, and making it a bad situation for the port just to show you that we have a plan to get through this if it does go as far as the fourth quarter."

Officials at the meeting said the most likely scenario is the initial restart phase will have one cruise ship per cruise line, and each ship will operate at half capacity.

Port Canaveral Chief Financial Officer Michael Poole is projecting $32.59 million in operating revenue and a $43.12 million loss for the port in the current budget year that ends September 30.

"We just want to put something in front of you that can show you as a board that we’re going to be OK to get through this even if it doesn’t start before July, and I’m hopeful and optimistic and all that good stuff that we do get started before then."

Royal Caribbean, and the entire cruise industry, has been shutdown from U.S. ports since March 2020.  With the exception of Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, no ships have been able to restart in its fleet since then.

In order to be able to restart, cruise lines need to get their new health protocols onboard approved.  This will be done in conjunction with test cruises that will demonstrate the viability of the cruise line plans.

Once a ship is approved for service by the CDC, then a cruise line can resume regular passenger service.

While Royal Caribbean has not announced any firm restart plan, many believe cruises will start back up again first from ports like Port Canaveral or PortMiami.

Wall Street: Cruises wont restart until late 2021 or early 2022


If you are looking for a "glass is half empty prediction" on when cruises might restart, here is a doozy.

One Wall Street analyst shared his thoughts on the likelihood of cruises restarting and it is not a good outlook for cruise fans.

Truist Securities analyst Patrick Scholes wrote in a note that cruises likely will not resume from U.S. ports until the second half of 2021 under the best of circumstances, and possibly not until early 2022.

Mr. Scholes wrote the note on Friday indicating a changing look at the prospects of cruises restarting, "The sentiment for 2021 has now changed to ‘It’s possible 2021 will not be a return to (revenue) sailings in North America, or at least not before'".

He added that while cruise bookings are exceeding cancellations, “we now see July as the best case for restart,” though the fourth quarter is more likely.

"Consensus expectations are for a return to revenue sailings in 2Q21 with [an] acceleration into 3Q21, which we do not see as realistic," Scholes wrote, adding that the stocks have "so far shrugged off unabated delays in restarting."

Royal Caribbean recently cancelled March and April cruises for nearly all of its sailings, and Norwegian and Carnival have both matched as well.

Cruise industry insider Stewart Chiron recently took to Twitter with his own predictions based on the recently announced cancellations.

"Several cruise lines will be announcing further cancelations of all April sailings. May sailings, at this point, are probably toast as well," Chiron stated in his tweet. "Test sailings of 3-5 nights will occur. All 7-night sailings, heading into summer are tentative at best right now."

The single biggest question is when cruise lines might be able to get started with testing out their new procedures.

Carnival recently tip-toed around the idea that the CDC is holding up the cruise lines from moving forward with restart plans.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said Carnival is in phase one of the Conditional Sail Order, and said, "additional guidelines for future phases have not yet been issued by CDC."

Mr. Scholes wrote in his note, "there is concern amongst travel executives who believe that the recent CDC phased return to cruise is really a de facto no-sail order."

Read moreTop 14 things the CDC requires cruise ships do on test sailings

"The concern is that the CDC’s hurdles are so high that it will make it extremely difficult for the cruise lines to sail with paid customers."

The good news is demand remains strong in the form of bookings, and he expects the pent-up demand for travel to boost cruises whenever they have the opportunity to restart.

British cruise line will require everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine


The first cruise line to announce it will require its guests to get a COVID-19 vaccine is Saga Cruises.

The British cruise line announced it will require that all guests must be fully vaccinated in order to sail.

Specifically, Saga said guests must have received their full two doses of the COVID‑19 vaccination at least 14 days before going on the cruise.

A spokesperson added: "We have taken the decision to require everyone traveling with us to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Our customers want the reassurance of the vaccine and to know others traveling with them will be vaccinated too."

The topic of if cruise lines will require guests to be vaccinated has been a hotly debated topic, and a question of "will they or wont they."

Saga Cruises exclusively markets to and operates for people aged 50 and over, making it appeal to a demographic that is more at risk to the effects of COVID-19.

The plan for Saga is to begin with hotel stays, river cruises and escorted tours in May, and then launch ocean cruises in early June.

Read moreCDC will require Covid-19 test for all international flights to the US

Pre-cruise COVID-19 testing will be conducted in the terminal, as well as doubling the medical staff and social distancing on its ships.

What about Royal Caribbean?

Of course, a small cruise line in the UK is not necessarily an indication of what Royal Caribbean may or may not do.

Last week, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain indicated they are looking into the role a vaccine will play in the cruise line's plans.

Ultimately, Royal Caribbean will rely on the guidance of the Healthy Sail Panel of health experts to guide the cruise line in if they should require the vaccine or not of its guests.

"Exactly how are we going to require it? Are we going to just use it as an adjunct? I think all of that is going to come out reasonably soon."

Mr. Fain's response put the decision on if requiring the vaccine is a good idea on the panel of experts so that the cruise line can make the best decision based on the panel's guidance.

"We have the experts and we'll let them guide us."

CDC will require Covid-19 test for all international flights to the US


The airline industry will begin to feel the first major impact of a new rule by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with new testing requirements.

The CDC announced beginning on January 26, all passengers that are two years old and older must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the United States.

Specifically, flyers must take a nasal or PCR test within three days before the flight departs for the U.S.

The written results (written or electronic) of the test must be provided to the airline in order to be able to board the plane. The CDC added documentation of having recovered from Covid-19 is allowed.

If you have a connecting flight, a test taken no more than three days before your flight departs is acceptable as long as it is booked under a single passenger record. Layovers between flights cannot exceed 24 hours.

If your connecting flight to the US was booked separately or you have a longer connection, you need to get tested within the three days before your final flight departs for the US.

If you are flying out of the country for less than three days, you can take a test in the U.S. before you depart and use it for your return or take a rapid test before your return flight.

If a passenger does not provide documentation or chooses not to take a test, the CDC has advised that airlines must deny boarding.

The rule applies to U.S. residents and tourists alike.

This is the first time the airline industry has had to deal with any kind of testing requirements. Cruise lines committed on their own to 100% testing of all passengers back in October 2020 without the CDC needing to mandate it.

Read more5 ways cruise ships have tougher COVID-19 protocols than airplanes

CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield commented on the importance of testing as a major tool, "Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

We asked our readers when they think cruises will restart


Royal Caribbean just delayed their reopening again, and it is not clear yet when cruises might restart.

Big questions remain about when exactly Royal Caribbean will be able to restart cruises in the United States or Europe. While no one knows the answer, I wanted to know what cruise fans thought about the chances of cruises restarting.

Spoiler alert, the opinions were far from unanimous.

There are some good signs out there to keep an eye on for when cruises might restart, but the entire situation is constantly changing, with optimism one day and dejection the next. The cruise line has been tight lipped about the day-to-day changes in terms of cruises being able to restart as well.

So I asked RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers on Facebook when they think will the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship from USA or Europe sail with paying passengers?

After a few days, almost 900 responses to our poll, and the results were quite mixed - 290 said sometime in 2022, 266 said July 2021, 139 said May 2021, 50 said September 2021, 42 said October 2021, 29 said April 2021, and then the results fell off from there.

The majority felt there was a chance of cruises for summer 2021 (July) or already feel 2021 is a lost cause and voted for 2022.

Plenty of pessimism

After a year of of no cruises, there was plenty of people who are starting to see things as "the glass is half empty" when it comes to cruises restarting.

While cruise cancellations are nothing new, every round of cancellations seems to instill concern among cruisers that more bad news is yet to come.

In addition, the current surge in the global health crisis around the world has some worried that the case for cruises to restart in the current climate is simply impossible.

Some voting with their heart

Based on the comments from the poll, it seems a lot of people may have also voted based on when their cruise is scheduled and hoping for the best.

Eddie Vilkins, "I’m only hoping for July because that’s my booking."

Tyler Diedrich, "I am guessing Mariner in May. Just because I have a killer deal on a suite on this sailing!"

Jennifer Melchior, "July 2021 cause we have a cruise scheduled for that month!"

Brenda Hunt voted for July because she thinks things could improve rapidly by then, "I am hopeful by July. This way all those that want to be vaccinated will most likely will be by then. In the meantime, they can create a plan for what to do for those those that can’t or won’t get vaccinated."

The poll was an interesting look in the different opinions people have for when they expect Royal Caribbean cruises to restart. It is understandable why the answers were so widespread because no one really has solid information on when cruise ships might be able to sail again.

As always, I will keep an eye out for new updates related to cruises being able to restart.

Carnival says CDC is slowing down test cruises from starting


Is the reason we have not heard about test cruises yet because the CDC is slowing things down?

The question every cruiser's mind for months has been when test cruises might begin, and many have openly wondered if the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is hindering the chance of cruises moving towards restarting.

In late October, the CDC issued the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order that said any cruise line that wants to restart from the United States needs to apply for a conditional sailing certificate 60 days before a voyage. But before that happens, they need to run test sailings with volunteers — and must provide written notice 30 days in advance.

The CDC told the Washington Post last week, "no cruise line had applied for a certificate yet."


Carnival Corporation held a call with investors on Monday to discuss its fourth quarter 2020 financial results, and Robin Farley from UBS asked about timing for these test cruises.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said Carnival is in phase one of the Conditional Sail Order, and said, "additional guidelines for future phases have not yet been issued by CDC."

Ms. Farley followed up by asking Mr. Donald if in fact Carnival cannot move forward until it receives additional information.

Farley: "So it sounds like you're waiting specifically for the CDC to issue some specific guidance around the test cruise timing."

Donald: "To answer your question about specific timing on test cruise, yes, we would be waiting."

Mr. Donald added that Carnival is doing other things in the meantime to position itself to hit the ground running when they can begin test cruises, such as bringing ships back to the United States and meeting criteria laid out for those ships.

"But to give you a specific timing on the test cruises, we would need additional guidance from CDC."

The confirmation from Carnival that almost three months after the CDC issued its Conditional Sail Order the set of instructions on what cruise lines need to do to demonstrate they can sail safely again is proving many cruise fans worst fears: the Conditional Sail Order is just another name for the No Sail Order.

Since the No Sail Order was replaced by the Conditional Sail Order, Royal Caribbean has cancelled sailings three times, with the announcement yesterday it would cancel March and April cruises.

Seeing new rounds of cancellations is not unexpected by the cruise world, but the lack of progress in seeing any hint that test cruises (and subsequently real cruises) are getting closer to restarting is a major source of frustration for cruise fans.

Read moreTop 14 things the CDC requires cruise ships do on test sailings

Before cruise ships can sail again from the United States, the ships need to conduct simulated sailings to prove the new health protocols can work.

One of the major steps involved in demonstrating the new rules and regulations can work safely is to operate a series of test sailings where volunteers are used on select cruise ships in order to practice all of the new tasks.

All volunteer passengers and crew members must follow testing protocols, which include rapid testing prior to both embarkation and disembarkation.

Simulated sailings will need to meet CDC expectations for certification, which includes passengers wearing masks, wash and sanitize hands, and practice social distancing. 

Read moreEverything you need to know about Royal Caribbean test cruises

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Chris Reardon felt the delay by the CDC is still based on events that took place months ago, "I think that many of the decisions from the CDC are from individuals who have rarely or never cruised. Their bias is based on what happened over a year ago on a couple of ships."

Don Goldstein said, "It is hard to know who to blame considering the lack of communication from either Royal Caribbean Group(RCG) or CDC. If CDC is putting up roadblocks, it would be counterproductive for RCG to publicly complain, and of course CDC would not admit to those roadblocks. In other words, we don't know what we don't know."

Still, cruise fans are not blind to the realities of the world and the fact the global health crisis has gotten worse. Brian Carty added, "I blame neither the CDC or the cruiselines. I blame the virus and its current behavior as shown here. If test cruises had started when the “No Sail” order had been lifted and before this happened, we might be in a different place now."

Royal Caribbean Group CEO says decision will be made if covid vaccine will be mandatory to cruise


Of all the new health protocols and changes, perhaps no single rule is as hotly debated right now as if cruise lines will require a Covid vaccine in order to be allowed to sail.

The vaccine is being distributed around the United States and in many other countries in the world, and many people want to know if the vaccine will be mandatory in order to go on a cruise.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was asked that very question during an interview with Porthole Cruise Magazine.

Mr. Fain indicated that the decision of if a vaccine will or will not be required will be decided on by the Healthy Sail Panel of health experts that Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH)  created, "The purpose of the panel is to advise us on things like that."

"Exactly how are we going to require it? Are we going to just use it as an adjunct? I think all of that is going to come out reasonably soon."

Mr. Fain's response put the decision on if requiring the vaccine is a good idea on the panel of experts so that the cruise line can make the best decision based on the panel's guidance.

"We have the experts and we'll let them guide us."

Royal Caribbean's answer echos what NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio said last month, when he indicated his company is exploring the possibility of requiring a vaccine.

It will certainly be a requirement for the crew," Del Rio told John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest organizations of travel advisors.

Mr. Del Rio also indicated there is a legal aspect to requiring it, along with the science behind if it makes sense to institute as a policy.

Booking trends remain good

Despite the nearly year-long shutdown, people are still interested in booking new cruises.

Mr. Fain attributed the booking trends to the notion of pent-up demand for vacations, "I think people are so tired...I think there's a huge pent up demand."

The example Royal Caribbean has seen was cruises resuming in Singapore, where demand to book a cruise has been very strong.

"I think there's a lot of pent up demand and I think people were really ready to get out and get on with their lives."

Not surprisingly, early cruises back may have a lot more veteran cruisers, rather than new cruisers.

"Obviously the early cruises are going to be more experienced cruisers than in the past."

"But we still in the long term need to continue to grow the market. Our industry is growing. And so I think we will continue to market to first time cruisers."

Mr. Fain said he was surprised how many first time cruisers in Singapore have booked cruises on Quantum of the Seas, "I think a lot of people say, wow, this is this is actually a great thing."

Royal Caribbean cancels all of its March and April cruises


Royal Caribbean's hopes to restart cruises will have to wait until at least May.

Royal Caribbean announced it will cancel all of its cruises scheduled in March and April 2021, following similar announcements by Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line to forgo sailings in March due to a combination of the global health crisis and attaining government approval to sail again.

The cruise line said as a result of the change, sailings will not be able to resume again until at least May 1, 2021.

There are two exceptions to this round of cancellations:

  • Quantum of the Seas sailings from Singapore, which have successfully been sailing since December 2020.
  • China sailings on Spectrum of the Seas, February 16-28, are suspended.

It also means there will officially have been no Royal Caribbean cruises from the United States for exactly one year, as the global cruise shutdown began in mid-March 2020. 

Today's announcement by Royal Caribbean confirms many cruise fan's fears that the despite the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) decision to lift the No Sail Order in October 2020, there is still no progress in cruises actually resuming anytime soon.

In a statement by the cruise line, Royal Caribbean said more time is needed before cruises can resume.

Prior to the new round of cancellations, Royal Caribbean had cancelled cruises through the end of February 2021, but they will extend that window by an additional two months.


Guests affected by the cancelled cruises between March 1 - April 30,  2021, have three options for compensation.

Lift & Shift: Select next year’s sailing with the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week window of the original cruise date, and you can take your existing reservation and move it to next year.Option expires on  January 26, 2021.

125% Future Cruise Credit: To account for the inconvenience this has caused, guests are eligible for a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that is based on the total cruise fare paid at the guest-level if neither of the other options is selected. This will be automatically issued on or before February 12, 2021 if no other option is selected.

Taxes and fees, as well as any pre-purchased amenities or onboard packages will be automatically refunded to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date. 

If you previously opted to take advantage of our Cruise with Confidence policy, the 100% FCC will stand, and this new option is ineligible.

Additionally, if you redeemed your Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit on a sailing that is now cancelled, their original FCC will be reinstated, plus 125% of any amount paid by the guest on the cancelled reservation.

Refund: If you prefer a cash refund, you can do so by requesting this option on-or-before March 31, 2021.

You can expect their refund to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date. 

If you redeemed a Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit on an impacted sailing and would now prefer a refund instead, Royal Caribbean will process this request in the amount of any new funds paid above the original certificate and, in turn, will reinstate the Cruise with Confidence FCC for future use.

Cruise Planner Purchases: If you had purchased any cruise add-ons, such as shore excursions, drink packages, wifi and more, you could opt to convert your Cruise Planner purchases  to an Onboard Credit valued at 125% of the total amount paid. This offer expires on January 26, 2021.

No indications yet when test cruises might start

While more cruise cancellations are almost expected at this point, the bigger question is when will test cruises actually begin.

It seems cruise fans are becoming more frustrated with the lack of progress in getting closer to cruises resuming, rather than the actual cruise cancellations.

While cruise cancellations due to the global health crisis are not new, it has been more than two months since the CDC issued the Conditional Sailing Order and neither the CDC nor Royal Caribbean has given any updates on things moving towards resuming sailing.

Read moreWhat does the Conditional Sailing Order mean for cruises to restart?

Before any cruise line can restart operations in the United States, it needs to meet the new requirements set forth by the CDC.

The CDC believes these strict requirements and checkpoints are necessary in order to protect the health of the public during this time.

There are three phases for Royal Caribbean to receive permission to offer cruises again:

  1. Testing crew members
  2. Simulated cruises to test out new protocols
  3. Apply for a Conditional Sailing Certificate

Read moreEverything you need to know about Royal Caribbean test cruises

The CDC told the Washington Post last week that, "no cruise line had applied for a certificate yet."

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain told travel agents in December 2020 that no one could have imagined cruises would be shutdown for over a year, "We never imagined that it would take this long and we never imagined that we could survive with such a lengthy shutdown."

Mr. Fain believes the arrival of a vaccine will aid the cruise line's efforts to restart cruises, "Today we envision that the key, but not the exclusive factor, will be the vaccines rather than purely the protocols."

"Although the first cruises will be later than we expected, the resumption of cruising will ramp up faster and be more robust."

5 things Royal Caribbean has done to boost bookings since cruises shutdown


Since the onset of its voluntary shutdown, Royal Caribbean has been aggressive with new policies and offers meant to  get people cruising again.

There was little doubt when cruise ships shutdown in 2020, cruise lines would need to do a lot to get people booking cruises again. While revenue is basically nothing (Royal Caribbean actually had negative revenue last quarter), there have been some creative strategies announced that seek to improve consumer confidence and drum up sales.

Despite everything happening in the world, there are still lots of people who want to plan for a day where they can get back on a cruise ship. This demand has driven Royal Caribbean to find new ways to boost sales, and in the nearly year-long shutdown, there have been a few significant steps taken to keep people booking cruises.

While the new to cruise market may be all but dried up for the time being, loyal cruisers are still eagerly waiting to get back on a ship and many of the new policies and offers are clearly aimed at this audience.

Here is a look at the top five notable things Royal Caribbean has done to help get more bookings during the cruise industry shutdown

Flexible cancellation terms

Even before cruises shutdown, Royal Caribbean revamped its cancellation terms to make things simpler and more flexible.

Dubbed the Cruise with Confidence program, Royal Caribbean sought to give consumers the knowledge they could have more time to decide if they really want to go on a cruise.

The Cruise with Confidence program added the option to cancel a cruise up until 48 hours before the sailing in exchange for a future cruise credit.  Before the program was introduced, there were hefty penalties for canceling a cruise in the weeks leading up to a cruise.  If you tried to cancel a cruise a few days before the sailing, you would have gotten nothing back on your cruise fare.

This new policy mirrored what the airline industry did as well, by relaxing cancellation terms to avoid people pre-emptively canceling trips due to all the fear and doubt in the world today.

Royal Caribbean went on to also introduce Lift & Shift, as a way to easily defer a booked cruise to the same time next year while also protecting the price they originally paid.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean Lift and Shift information & frequently asked questions

By adding the freedom and flexibility to reschedule or cancel closer to the sail date, guests have a sense they have options if they change their mind later.

Cruise with Confidence has been extended, and expanded a few times, and appears to be here for the long haul until consumer confidence goes back up in terms of being able to plan cruises.

It is perhaps the most significant policy shift by the cruise line during this tumultuous time in cruising.

Read moreWhy you shouldn't cancel your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise

Double points

Perhaps no indication that everything is different now was the double Crown and Anchor Society points offer for 2021 cruises.

Essentially, Royal Caribbean will offer guests who book a cruise for 2021 (and early 2022) double the amount of points per night in the cruise line's customer loyalty program.

This may not sound like a big deal, until you realize such an offer has never been extended for such a long time, or with such wide availability.

By offering more loyalty points, guests can move up the ladder of the Crown and Anchor Society and reach higher tiers faster, which means more perks and benefits sooner.

Clearly the added loyalty points offer is aimed at repeat cruisers who look at the Crown and Anchor Society as a challenge to maneuver higher and higher at a faster pace.

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program has long been one of the most lucrative cruise line loyalty programs out there, and moving up has never been easier with the double points offer.

Read moreTop 8 Royal Caribbean Double Points questions

Deeper discounts

Royal Caribbean rolled up its sleeves with some of its booking promotions in 2020, offering deeper and more wide ranging discounts than ever before.

Many RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have reported deeper discounts on sales, which says something when there is a sale running nearly year round.

In the early part of the cruise line shutdown, many companies scaled back their marketing efforts because it was difficult to gauge how to appropriately advertise to consumers with everything going on.  In time, Royal Caribbean joined other companies in bringing back promotional offers, and many saw better deals than compared to before the industry shutdown.

A great example is the Kids Sail Free deal, which has always been a popular choice for families. In 2020, Royal Caribbean took the unprecedented step to offer Kids Sail Free during the summer.

Typically this offer is full of blackout dates, including the summer because kids are out of school. 

Instead, Royal Caribbean allowed the Kids Sail Free deal to extend into summer to the delight of many families.

Read more: Kids Sail Free 2021-2022 Dates & Tips

Extended future cruise credits

While Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) existed before the cruise industry shutdown, their role and ability to be used has been enhanced since the cancellations began.

Future cruise credits have become widely available due to the current voluntary cruise shutdown that Royal Caribbean is engaged in, which means while cruises are being cancelled due to the global health crisis, Royal Caribbean is offering guests future cruise credits.

Future cruise credits are vouchers that guests typically get when a cruise is cancelled in lieu of a refund. You can think of them as a kind of gift certificate.

Any FCC has redemption rules which stipulate how and when they can be used. In the nearly year-long shutdown, Royal Caribbean has tweaked and modified the program to make it easier for guests to use (and keep) their credits.

An early change was to allow someone to use their FCC towards a cruise deposit, instead of just the cruise fare. Before this was changed, you would have to put a cash deposit down first on a new reservation, and then apply a FCC to the reservation.  

Royal Caribbean has also extended future cruise credits that were set to expire before the end of 2021 to ensure everyone had more time to use their vouchers.

Then the cruise line offered the ability to combine FCCs when a cruise was cancelled.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean Future Cruise Credit: What you need to know

Extended offers when more cruises cancelled

Time and time again, Royal Caribbean has extended its policies when it became clear more time was needed for cruises to restart and bookings to be made.

No one has had a crystal ball during this process, so Royal Caribbean has consistently extended programs like Lift & Shift, Double Points, Cruise with Confidence and more in order to ensure these offerings can be better utilized when cruises do resume.

The flexibility in the terms and conditions of offers, booking promotions, and policies has demonstrated these enhancements will remain until at least cruise ships can return to service so that the spirit of these offers can be used.

Read moreHere are your options if you want to cancel or defer your booked cruise

The unconfirmed cruise ship rumors that get repeated a lot by cruise fans


In the void of cruise ships being able to sail, there has been plenty of speculation by cruise fans on what might happen in the near future.

While sharing opinions of what is happening in the cruise industry is not new, unfortunately a lot of these rumors get repeated enough that it seems to be referred to as fact in some discussion boards.

Having seen so many of these discussions on social media, there seems to be a few of these "predictions" that are passed around as the truth. The illusory truth effect is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure, and there is belief in many circles that this is the case.

Cruises will be shutdown for at least a year in March, so rosy optimism is not expected.  However, it is important to remember what has been confirmed, versus what we still have not heard about.

Here is a list of some commonly shared cruise ship rumors that have not been verified or announced by Royal Caribbean.

You will need to get the vaccine to go on a cruise

Ever since a vaccines became a reality, many cruise fans think the cruise lines will require them in order to get onboard the ship.

Despite the fact no cruise line has officially announced any such policy, many believe Royal Caribbean will mandate guests prove they have a vaccine in order to get on a cruise.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said recently he thinks vaccines will play a critical part in  getting cruise ships back in service one their effect begins to take hold, "Today we envision that the key, but not the exclusive factor, will be the vaccines rather than purely the protocols."

"Although the first cruises will be later than we expected, the resumption of cruising will ramp up faster and be more robust."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said his company is looking into whether or not being vaccinated can be required of cruise passengers.

In the meantime, no one knows yet if you will need to prove you have the vaccine in order to get on a cruise, but plenty of people seem to think it will be.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean CEO says vaccines, not new protocols, will be what gets cruises going again

Back to back cruises won't be allowed

Ever since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its rules as part of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, there has been concern consecutive cruises would be banned.

The source of this rumor is in the fact the CDC says cruises may not exceed 7-nights.  This has lead some people to believe a back-to-back cruise (two cruises in a row by the same guest) would be prohibited.

Nowhere in the CDC's Conditional Sail Order, or in Royal Caribbean's protocols for cruises in Singapore, does it state guests may not go on a back to back cruise.

Some readers have told me a travel agent was informed by some cruise line that booking back to back sailings was not allowed, although I have yet to see this policy written out.

Read moreWhat does the Conditional Sailing Order mean for cruises to restart?

Pessimistic predictions on when cruise ships might sail again

In the absence of cruises, plenty of cruise fans have taken to making predictions when cruises might actually restart again.

Like many of these rumors, instead of including the words, "I think" before they share a guess, random dates are presented as fact based on how they feel that day.

Similar to how the stock market goes down when bad news comes out, predictions of when cruises might restart tend to have an optimistic or pessimistic take depending on what else is happening in the world.

Read moreNo, nobody knows if the cruise you have booked will actually sail

Guesses when the next round of cancellations will happen

If cruise fans are not guessing when cruises might restart, the other time honored tradition has becoming predicting when the next round of cancellations will be announced.

There has been no consistent pattern to when Royal Caribbean (or any cruise line) announces new cancellations, but that has not stopped many from posting on social media to expect cancellations on Fridays, after 5pm, before 9am, or when the moon aligns with Jupiter.

Just like cruise ships resuming cruises, no one really knows when to expect new cancellations. Royal Caribbean has very rarely given any hint of when to expect more cancellations. 

While there has been a trend when one of the "big three" cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival or NCL) announce cancellations the others eventually do the same, the exact timing is anything but predictable.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean Cancellations - Updates, Refunds & FAQs

What have you heard?

Is there a a juicy rumor that you have seen repeated so many times that most seem to think it will be a fact? Which of these do you think may actually turn out to be true?

Share your favorites in the comments below.