The Only 6 Cruise Itineraries You Might Be Able to Take from Ft. Lauderdale This Summer

Melinda Crow

And what they will cost you

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FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA-- The state of the cruise industry in North America remains in a state of flux. The major cruise lines that service U.S. ports of call are making serious plans to resume cruising under the CDC's guidance. The CDC officially lifted its No Sail order in November 2020 but replaced it with a strict set of standards that must be met prior to the resumption of cruising.

Those restrictions have been questioned repeatedly by the industry as the CDC has no such restrictions on either the hotel industry or airline industry. Obviously, cruising puts passengers not only in close contact with one another for an extended period of time but takes them away from robust medical care for the duration of the cruise.

It has not been the CDC's restrictions that have kept cruise lines from restarting, however. In most cases, it is restrictions related to the ports of call, particularly in foreign countries. Because the government of Canada has banned ships carrying more than 100 passengers from docking at Canadian ports for the remainder of 2021, the entire Alaskan cruise season has been canceled by the major lines, as have the fall foliage cruises on the east coast.

The primary reason those sailings had to be canceled is that in order to meet the long-standing Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) restriction, ships that are not American owned, American built, and utilizing predominantly American citizens for staff and crew, must call at least one foreign port before transporting citizens between U.S. ports.

A spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association-Northwest & Canada (CLIA-NWC) had this to say about the extended pause:

While we understand and support the government’s focus on combatting COVID-19 in Canada, we are surprised by the length of the extension of the prohibition of cruise,” said Charlie Ball, Chair of CLIA-NWC. “We hope to have an opportunity to revisit this timeline and demonstrate our ability to address COVID-19 in a cruise setting with science-backed measures, as CLIA members are doing in Europe and parts of Asia where cruising has resumed on a limited basis.

With the summer tradition of Alaskan cruises ruled out, and with pent-up travel demand, the return to cruising in the Caribbean is likely to see a popular surge during the summer months. Most lines are aiming for a June re-start, which is when the current posted prices are at their highest.

From Mid-August through September, the load lightens, both because of hurricane season and the return to school. When that happens, rates drop across the board.

Getting on board from Ft. Lauderdale

Only two cruise lines are scheduled to utilize the Port of Fort Lauderdale this season. Princess will station Caribbean Princess there for 7-night alternating routes between Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Celebrity will offer Equinox and Edge, both running 7-night sailings alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Caribbean Princess' itineraries include the private island of Princess Cays, plus St. Thomas and St. Kitts on its Eastern route and Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, and Grand Cayman on its Western run. Starting prices run around the $700 mark throughout the summer.

Equinox will call at San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Puerto Plata in the east and Nassau, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Costa Maya in the west. The lowest available prices fluctuate from the $700 range up to over $1100 on some sailings.

Edge has planned itineraries of San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten in the east and Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Nassau in the West. The demand for cruises on the innovative Edge continues to be high, forcing prices well into the range of $1,400 per person for the cheapest cabins, even during hurricane season in late summer.

All ports of call and itineraries are subject to change based on weather and/or COVID-19 restrictions imposed within individual ports.

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