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When cruise ships are returning to service

15 Sep 2020 | by Akemi Bunce

When cruise ships are returning to service

Updated Wednesday 23rd March 2021


For all the latest cruise restart information, please see here to preregister your interest, browse all available UK Coastal Cruise sailings and see our comprehensive breakdown on the UK's return to cruising.


With cruise lines enhancing their health and safety regulations, and vaccines quickly becoming available worldwide, we are seeing a fantastic return to cruising. Numerous ships, such as MSC Grandiosa’s much celebrated reintroduction, have now embarked upon their first itineraries since the start of the pandemic, voyaging to the likes of Italy, Norway, France and more.

Thanks to carefully designed Covid-19 health and safety protocols, ships are able to sail safely for both passengers and crew. The 'new normal' includes reduced guest capacity, frequent temperature checks, increased sanitisation particularly in public venues, and contactless dining. As we can see from MSC Cruises' successful return to sailing, we'll be back on the water in no time!

While some cruise lines are continuously sharing updates on when they expect to return to service, this information is accurate as of 11th January 2021. Since cruise ships take a minimum of 12 weeks to prepare to sail, we expect a majority of cruises to begin again around April at the earliest.

Cruise ships back service

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises were among the first cruise lines to see a successful return to service in 2020, with enhanced health protocols ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew onboard.

After a pause in service over the Christmas period, MSC Cruises are expected to return to service from January 2021 for MSC Grandiosa, and February 2021 for MSC Magnifica. These itineraries will be available to guests from Schengen countries only.

Costa Cruises

Following a short pause in operations, Costa Cruises are resuming service onboard Costa Deliziosa in January 2021, with itineraries sailing to Trieste.

Ponant Cruises

Luxury small ship leader Ponant Cruises resumed itineraries cruising the Arctic, Iceland, France and French Polynesia in July. Les Jacques Cartier, L'austral, Le Lyrial and Le Champlain's intimate sizes have made them perfect for socially-distanced sailing. Ponant Cruises continued to launch more voyages with Le Bellot, Le Soleal, Le Boreal and more due to the success of their return to cruising.

Ponant Cruises paused operations in the northern hemisphere through December 2020, and are expected to return in early 2021.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Cruising Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific in August, Paul Gauguin Cruises safely resumed cruising onboard luxury expedition ship, ms Paul Gauguin.

Operations were paused in November 2020, but will resume in March 2021.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Re-launching sailings to residents of Germany, Austria and Switzerland in July, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises itineraries began departing from Hamburg onboard ms Europa 2 and Hanseatic Inspiration.

Sailings were paused in November 2020, and will resume in March 2021.

Sea Dream Yacht Club

The first cruise line to resume operations, Sea Dream Yacht Club launched sailings from Oslo, Norway since late June onboard SeaDream I.

After pausing operations in November, the cruise line expects to resume Europe cruises in May 2021.

Here's a quick overview of when other cruises lines are expecting to return:



For further information, see our updates on cancelled cruises.

River cruises, meanwhile, have also been hard at work ensuring they can traverse waterways around the world safely. See our complete guide to when river cruises are returning to service.

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