Carnival Cruise Line’s 2021 European deployment delayed

Carnival Cruise Line’s deployment plans, including a ship in Europe next year, have been blown off course by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delivery of new-build LNG-powered vessel Mardis Gras has been further delayed by three months until February 2021 while a $200 million refit for Carnival Radiance is unlikely to be completed until next spring.

The 5,200-passenger Mardi Gras was originally due to be delivered from its shipyard in Finland next month with the first revenue sailing departing on August 31.

Around 480 UK agents were due to see Mardi Gras next month when it had been planned to sail from Copenhagen via Southampton to New York.

The line is informing agents today (Tuesday) that 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic’s European itineraries between March 13 and May 3, 2021, including a transatlantic re-positioning sailing, have been cancelled.

The $1 billion-plus Mardi Gras, due to feature the first roller coaster on a cruise ship, had been due to run itineraries from Port Canaveral in Florida from November 14 but will now not enter service until February 6 next year.

The delayed revamp of Carnival Radiance, due to work being suspended at a shipyard in Cadiz, means redeployment of Carnival Breeze and the cancellation of 18 departures from Fort Lauderdale between November 7 and March 7.

Seven sailings previously scheduled for Carnival Breeze from Fort Lauderdale from March 13 to April 24 will move to Miami. The same itinerary will be offered, but on Carnival Magic operating from Miami.

The changes further compound a global shutdown of almost all of the industry’s ocean cruises for months due to coronavirus.

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said: “We continue to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global commerce, public health and our cruise operations.

“In addition to our current pause in service, there have been many other unintended consequences, including shipyard, dry dock and ship delivery delays, and related changes to our deployment plans for our fleet.

“While we had hoped to make up construction time on Mardi Gras over the summer, it’s clear we will need extra time to complete this magnificent ship.

“We share our guests’ disappointment and appreciate their patience as we work through this unprecedented time in our business and the lives of so many people.

“We remain committed to working with government, public health and industry officials to support the response to the pandemic and to return to operations when the time is right.”

Passenger and travel agent notifications will be emailed over the course of the day, according to the line.

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