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Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
Rotterdam (Rendering: Holland America Line)
Rotterdam (Rendering: Holland America Line)

Ship Spotting: Cruise Ships Get Set for Restart of Cruising

Rotterdam (Rendering: Holland America Line)
Rotterdam (Rendering: Holland America Line)

May 13, 2021

Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

(10:35 a.m. EDT) -- It's just days now until cruising restarts from the U.K., and as a result we're seeing a lot of ship activity.

First to arrive in the U.K. was Viking Venus (see below), ahead of its christening Monday and first voyage May 22.

We're also welcoming MSC Cruises' newest ship, MSC Virtuosa, which sets sail May 20.

Here's your cruise ship round up wherever they are in the world.

Venus Rising

Viking  Venus in  Portsmouth
Viking Venus in Portsmouth

Viking Cruises' newest ship, Viking Venus, arrived Monday to Portsmouth on her maiden call to the U.K., ahead of its May 17 christening.

Broadcaster Anne Diamond will name the ship, the seventh near-identical vessel in the line's rapidly growing ocean cruises fleet, in a small ceremony.

"We are delighted to be here," Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said from onboard the ship.  The U.K. government is leading the way with its sensible approach to the safe return of cruising and has helped us all put hope back on the horizon.

"Viking was the first cruise line to suspend operations in March 2020, and, after 14 months of keeping our ships in warm lay-up, we are looking forward to ushering in this new era."

Viking Venus will offer round-trip cruises from Portsmouth calling at Liverpool, the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland to vaccinated U.K. residents.

Viking is one of 16 cruise lines that will be operating around the U.K. this summer.

A Virtuosa Arrival

M S C  Virtuosa arrives into  Southampton  M S C  Cruises,  Blue  Harbour (1)
M S C Virtuosa arrives into Southampton M S C Cruises, Blue Harbour (1)

Hot on Viking Venus' heels comes MSC Cruises' MSC Virtuosa, which arrived May 11 into nearby Southampton.

The line's newest and biggest ship -- fresh from Chantiers d'Atlantique shipyard in France --  sets sail May 20 on a four-night, round-trip cruise, with one port stop -- the first big ship to set sail in the U.K. since the start of the pandemic.

Antonio Paradiso, UK Managing Director said "The arrival of our flagship MSC Virtuosa into Southampton today is an exciting moment, as we prepare to welcome UK guests back on board from May 20th for her inaugural season around the British Isles. We are proud to be the first cruise line to set sail from UK waters this summer and offer holidaymakers the chance to experience all of the new and incredible features on board our latest and most innovative ship."

Sea Trials for Rotterdam

Rotterdam  Sea  Trials 4
Rotterdam Sea Trials 4

Holland America Line's latest ship, Rotterdam, was put through its paces this week, completing its sea trials in the Adriatic Sea yesterday (May 10).

The line's third Pinnacle Class ship, a sister to Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, is being built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard, in northern Italy.

The 2,650-passenger vessel is the seventh HAL ship to be named Rotterdam and was originally due to be called Ryndam.

The ship is back in the yard for its final fit out, before its debut July 30.

Raising Spirits

Sea  Cloud  Spirit
Sea Cloud Spirit

Another new ship -- Sea Cloud's newest masted vessel, Sea Cloud Spirit, has been delivered from the Vigo, Spain shipyard.

The 136-passenger vessel has passed all necessary tests, and its maiden voyage has been set for September 14 for a 10-night roundtrip Rome to Rome.

The ship will spend the fall in the Western Mediterranean and the upcoming winter season in the Canary Islands.

Sea Cloud Spirit will become the third ship for Sea Cloud Cruises, who currently sail the Sea Cloud and the Sea Cloud II.

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