5 Reasons That Cruise You’ve Booked May Not Run Even When No-Sail Bans End

Discover why That Cruise You’ve Booked May Not Run Even When No-Sail bans are lifted around the world. I’m Gary Bembridge and I am going to explore why the lifting of the bans on cruises could still mean that cruise you have booked and are looking forward to may well not sail, especially if you have cruises booked in the months following cruises resuming. Including a rather surprising logistical reason you may not have considered

Let’s take a look at why that cruise you have booked may not sail

Watch My Video On Why Your Cruise May Not Run

Watch My Video On Why Your Cruise May Not Run on YouTube

Phased Return To Service

Firstly, when cruising resumes the cruise lines have made it very clear that it is going to be in a phased approach. Not all ships will come back into service as the no-sail bans are lifted. All the CEOs have said multiple times that they plan to bring back a few ships a first, and slowly bring more back. They have suggested this could take many months.

There are a couple of practical reasons for this.

They need to return ships to the ports they plan to sail from. Ships are spread across the world right now, some lines (like Carnival and Norwegian Cruises) have moved all their ships out of USA waters for example.

They also need to get crew back from all around the world. It’s going to be a massive logistical task, just as repatriating them was. They need to bring back around 100,000 crew to get all ships sailing again. They need to test crew before departure, on arrival and then quarantine them for 14 days before testing again to ensure they can start work, which also means time for training and getting them back up to speed. Right now, they have very small numbers of crew on the ship and each ship will need up to and, in some cases, over 1,000 crew to be brought back per ship.

They also need to then stock the ships and get all the supply chains running again. It will take time to get all the suppliers and supplies sorted, booked and delivered.

This all means focusing on a few ships at a time. Yours may not be one of those.

Available Open Ports

Another massive reason is going to be which countries and ports will let them cruise to. They will have to design new cruises to match where they can go.

The lifting of no-sail just means cruise lines can sail. It does not mean ports will be willing to take them. As we saw in Europe, as limited sailings started, they were very restricted on where they could go. So, the lines cancelled existing itineraries and developed new ones with available ports and put those on sale. This inevitably will be the case around the world.

That cruise itinerary you have booked, even if the ship comes back into service, may be impossible to run and be cancelled.

Ship Disposals and Redeployments

Cruise groups have indicated they are in the process of disposing of ships and changing where they will be deploying ships, which may also lead to your cruise being cancelled. Carnival Group has said they will dispose of 18 ships. Not all of those have been announced so inevitably as they get rid of more your ship may be one of those and cruises cancelled. Princess also, for example, has changed the number of ships now due to sail out of Europe moving ships from other regions like Asia, and this may continue as we see what regions open to cruising. Changes to cruises is inevitable from this.


Another reason the lines are looking at a phased return is the actual demand to cruise. Although there is a lot of hype about demand, until cruising returns it is impossible to know. The lines have said that they will manage supply so that they can keep fares at a level that makes those ships sailing profitable. They want to avoid having to slash fares to fill ships.

We have seen in the early cruises opening in Europe that demand has been softer than many thought, possibly as cruisers are put off by the protocols (testing, masks, social distancing, cruise line only excursions and so on) and by the fast changes in travel advice and quarantine as infection rates fluctuate. Personally, I think we will see demand to be relatively soft as many will want to hold off cruising until they have seen a safe return, vaccines and ability to have a less restrictive protocol on board.

So, your cruise may well be one of those put on hold. Especially, if it is one of the more exotic ones cruising far afield and calling on multiple countries. People are more likely to want to stay close to home as they venture out and those cruises will have priority, like Caribbean, Round UK and short Mediterranean cruises

Travel and Airlines Opening

Cruises rely on a frequent and extensive transfer of passengers, mostly flying in. Airlines have slashed routes and capacity, and this looks to continue into 2021. So, cruises will need to rely even more on drive to and more local passengers. Those cruises will be the priority for return. If your cruise is not one of these it may be at risk

Of course, until no-sail is lifted broadly, and ports are also open, your cruise is at risk. The purpose of this is just to highlight that cruising being given the go-ahead is no guarantee that your booked cruise is going to be on. Be prepared for changes to come as liens adapt to the reality of what they can and cannot do. Be flexible and ready.

I have already seen some of my cruises cancelled as ships

What do you think? Leave a comment a thought.

Gary Bembridge’s Tips For Travellers aims to help you make more of your precious travel time and money on land and when cruising the oceans or rivers of the world. To help you, in every video I draw on my first-hand tips and advice from travelling every month for over 20 years and average of 10 cruises a year.




Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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