February 21, 2020
(2:40 p.m. EST) -- Numerous cruise lines have redeployed ships from Asia as a result of ongoing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. While some cruise lines have altered voyages on an individual basis, others are electing to skip the remainder of the cruise season in Asia in favor of heading to other destinations -- Australia, the Mediterranean, Alaska and the West Coast of North America -- earlier than planned.
These unexpected cancellations and redeployments mean travelers are being offered new and unique itineraries -- in most cases at attractive prices -- as companies look to fill their ships.
Nowhere is this truer than on the West Coast of North America, which typically sees very little cruise traffic in the run-up to the short Alaska season, with the exception of seasonal sailings to the Mexican Riviera.
Some lines -- like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity -- are also offering special voyages for first responders on both sides of the Pacific.
Below is a list of vessels that have been fully removed from their scheduled voyages in Asia and where they can be found now. A full list of itinerary cancellations and modifications for other vessels not being redeployed can be found here.
Following the cancellation of the remainder of its Asian season, Celebrity Cruises is sending Celebrity Millennium to the West Coast of the United States early. The ship will offer short three, four and five-night Pacific Coastal cruises from Los Angeles before starting its 2020 Alaska season from Vancouver. The line will also host several special “Cruising for Heroes” sailings in March and April to honor first responders in California.
Cunard re-routed flagship Queen Mary 2 and fleetmate Queen Elizabeth to Australia following the coronavirus outbreak in Asia. The remainder of Queen Elizabeth's Asia voyages for the spring are cancelled, and the ship will operate itineraries in Australia before heading to Vancouver to begin its 2020 Alaska season as scheduled.
Queen Mary 2 was on its 2020 World Cruise before it was re-routed to entirely avoid its scheduled ports of call in Asia and will re-join its original itinerary, which takes it away from affected ports.
Holland America Line
Holland America scrapped the rest of Westerdam's sailings in Asia, up to and including the April 2020 transpacific crossing from Japan to Vancouver. While Holland America hasn't announced deployment options yet, Westerdam will likely head to the West Coast early prior to the start of its 2020 Alaska cruise season.
Norwegian Cruise Line pulled newly renovated Norwegian Spirit from its scheduled year-long deployment in Asia, opting instead to homeport it in the Mediterranean through December 2020. It will primarily operate voyages out of Athens (Piraeus) Greece -- a first for the line.
Sapphire Princess will begin its season in Australia six months earlier than scheduled, beginning May 1, 2020. Voyages will be offered from Perth (Fremantle), Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. The ship will now effectively be based in Australia for the remainder of the year. Bookings for these new itineraries go on sale February 27, 2020.
Royal Caribbean is sending Spectrum of the Seas to Australia for an undetermined period of time. The ship, which will sail from Sydney, will also offer a series of complimentary cruises to local first responders in recognition for their efforts in fighting Australia's devastating wildfires.
Viking has scrubbed the remainder of Viking Orion's season in Asia, and has opted to send the ship to Alaska earlier than planned. Full itinerary details have yet to be announced; the ship was originally scheduled to begin sailing from Vancouver in June.
Windstar is sending Star Breeze to Alaska earlier than planned for an extended season. The ship was originally scheduled to begin sailings from Vancouver to Seward in June. Full itinerary details have yet to be announced.
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