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Carnival delays Mardi Gras launch, Radiance overhaul, cancels at least 30 cruises from November to January

  • July 08, 2020

Carnival Cruise Line announced that its newest ship, the Mardi Gras, will not sail until Feb. 6, four months later than planned. That means that Mardi Gras itineraries sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida, will be canceled between Nov. 14 through Jan. 30, a popular time to sail.

All told, at least 30 cruises won’t happen as a result of the domino effect caused by the delay of the new ship and another that’s being renovated. While there are cancellations, some itineraries will be shifted to different ships and will remain on schedule.

Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president, said in a statement Tuesday that the cruise line is continuing to assess the pandemic’s impact on public health, global commerce and 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,” Duffy said.  “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.”

Renovations on a second ship, Carnival Radiance, have also been pushed back because the COVID-19 lockdown in Spain delayed the start of the work. As a result, Carnival says Radiance will not be ready until the spring.

With Radiance out of commission, Carnival Breeze will be moved from Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral and will begin sailing that ship’s itineraries from Nov. 8 to April 24. But that change, too, will result in the cancellation of 18 Breeze sailings scheduled from Nov. 7 to March 7. Seven other Breeze cruises scheduled between March 13 and April 24 will be moved to Carnival Magic and sail the same itineraries but depart out of Miami.

With Carnival Magic moving to Miami, its transatlantic crossing and European itineraries between March 13 and May 3 have been scrapped.

Guests who were booked on the canceled sailings and their travel agents will be notified Tuesday.

Cruisers whose voyages have been canceled can choose to rebook for a later sailing and will receive a 100% future cruise credit plus a $300 or $600 cruise credit, according to Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesperson. They can also opt to receive a full refund. They have until May 31, 2021, to decide.

Those who were scheduled to sail on the Radiance but have been rescheduled to sail on the Breeze also have a choice. They can cancel and receive a full refund, or have the option to sail on the Breeze with a $200 per-cabin credit, Gulliksen told USA TODAY Tuesday. 

Last month, Carnival Cruise Line announced that it would extend its sailing suspension in North America through the end of September in accordance with the announcement by trade group Cruise Lines International Association that ts member cruise lines would voluntarily extended the suspension of U.S. cruise operations until Sept. 15 amid continuing concerns over coronavirus.

Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival Corp., the parent company to Carnival Cruise Line, told USA TODAY that with the pause gave the company time to finalize plans for health protocols and ship-capacity levels for resumption of operations.

The week prior, Carnival Corp. announced that its lines would take a phased approach when they make their return to the high seas, meaning its vessels and brands will return to sailing over time rather than all at once.

“We continue to work with government, public health and industry officials about a return to operations when the time is right,” Gulliksen said Tuesday.

Face masks, COVID-19 screening:EU issues guidelines for return to cruising amid pandemic

These customers are still waiting on refunds:Their cruises were canceled months ago.

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