Cruise lines keep calm and carry on

Royal Caribbean International has floated out Wonder of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship.

Cruise ship resumption may be paused, but cruise lines are carrying on.

Amid all the news about the industry’s historic global suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, cruise lines are forging ahead with new ships, upgrades and even the expansion of sales teams.

Here is some good news that has been buried amid all of the headlines about no-sail orders, operational pushbacks, health protocols and small-ship outbreaks.

Silversea’s 596-passenger Silver Moon, one of two Silversea ships originally set to be delivered this summer, successfully carried out its sea trials in August and is slated for delivery on October 30. Sea trials include tests for noise and vibration; stability and speed. The Silver Origin, purpose built for the Galapagos, was delivered to the line in a virtual ceremony and walk-through on June 3.

Costa Cruises, meanwhile, which was the first of Carnival Corp.’s nine brands to launch service since the cruise shutdown in March, will gradually increase the number of ships deployed this fall and winter and open them to more members of the European Union. And its newest ship, the Costa Firenze, currently under construction at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, will launch December 27 on a Mediterranean cruise to ports in Italy, Spain and France.

The world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Wonder of the Seas, was floated out earlier this month from its drydock at France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard. It is now in a wet dock at the yard where construction will continue. The ship, the fifth in Royal’s Oasis class, is slated to debut in 2022 from Shanghai.

Many cruise lines have had to furlough or cut staff, but Atlas Ocean Voyages, which has five new ships on order, recently added six sales directors. Among them are Cathy Kusuma, a longtime Cruise Planners director and Holland American Line and Seabourn sales executive; Michelle Rodriguez-Suarez, also formerly of Cruise Planners, is now Atlas’ virtual sales manager.

And that good news was compounded by an Atlas comment that the additional staff is “in response to the great, positive interest from the travel advisor community.”

This story was first published in Travel Weekly.