It’s been 500 days since the Costa Concordia ran aground off of Italy in January 2012. A year later, the world’s largest passenger ships are back on the seas after their most disastrous year ever. So why aren’t they sailing full, and why are they sailing slower?

It was supposed to be different. Cruise lines spent millions of dollars to prepare for what they thought would be a violent winter season, but the polar vortex has instead produced a freakishly warm winter and one of the warmest years on record. Vessels were still cleaning up from the winter storms as early as April, and the mild weather continued into July.

At this time last year, I was cruising a new ship from Miami to the Bahamas. It was my first cruise and I was looking forward to it. I was excited to try new foods, new ports, new activities, new people, new everything. I was thrilled that the cruise line I had chosen, Royal Caribbean, was one of the few companies that had sailed since the “disaster” (as the media put it). But I had no idea what I was getting myself into.. Read more about when is norwegian sailing again and let us know what you think.

Over the weekend, the cruise comeback gained steam as three more well-known companies returned to the sea after an extraordinary 500-day hiatus.

The Nieuw Amsterdam sailed out of Seattle on its way to Alaska on Saturday, resuming operations for Holland America. Majestic Princess, a Princess Cruises ship, left the same port yesterday for a beautiful trip to the Last Frontier.

The Norwegian Jade joined the new flotilla frenzy Monday, sailing from Piraeus, Greece, to explore the Greek islands.

norwegian jade exterior

Jade from Norway (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

These are the first voyages with paying passengers for all three lines since the industry shut down in March 2020.

There’s much more excellent news to come. Bahamas Paradise Trip Line resumed commercial operations over the weekend after a 16-month hiatus and the conclusion of a closed group test cruise. Grand Classica has returned to her busy program of two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island, departing from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida.

READ MORE: The First Carnival Cruise Ship Arrives on Bimini Island

Celebrity Cruises’ fast recovery continued over the weekend, with the Celebrity Millennium sailing to Alaska, the Celebrity Xpedition returning to the Galápagos Islands, and the Celebrity Eclipse returning to the Caribbean. 

Over the last eight weeks, a total of eight ships from the Celebrity fleet of fourteen have resumed operation.

celebrity eclipse

Eclipse of Celebrities (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Carnival Cruise Line is the focus of attention this week, as the Carnival Miracle begins a limited season of Alaska voyages from Seattle on Tuesday. Carnival’s return continues this weekend, with the pre-inaugural voyage of the brand-new flagship Mardi Gras departing from Port Canaveral.

The LNG-powered, 181,808 gross ton Mardi Gras is the biggest and most technologically sophisticated ship in the Carnival fleet, so there’s a lot of excitement for that one. The 6,500-passenger ship is garnering a lot of attention because to new lodging options and a number of ‘Fun Zones’ that provide a variety of facilities and activities around the ship.

This weekend, Cruise Radio will be on board the Mardi Gras, giving you live coverage of Carnival’s newest ship.

The Disney Dream will begin sails from Port Canaveral, Florida, on August 9 with three- and four-night excursions that include a stop at private Bahamian island Castaway Cay.

Carnival, Holland America, and Princess are following in the footsteps of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, which set sail from Seattle on July 19 as the first major cruise ship to travel north in almost two years.

serenade of the seas in seattle

On July 17, the Serenade of the Seas arrives in Seattle (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

The weekend relaunch marked the first time one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships has docked in a Greek port. Guests will be able to travel to Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos, and Santorini aboard the Norwegian Jade until November.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO, Harry Sommer, commemorated the occasion. He added, “Welcoming our visitors and staff aboard has been one of the most unforgettable experiences of my 30-year career.” “We are thrilled to make our ‘Great Cruise Comeback’ with a brand-new route and homeport for our brand, allowing our customers to choose from an even wider range of unique cruise vacations.”

READ MORE: Alaska Welcomes Revenue Cruise for the First Time in Nearly Two Years

Cruise lines are going back to sea.  With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill still lingering in the Gulf of Mexico and with a fragile economy, cruise lines and their passengers are optimistic that the bad days are behind them. And with good reason: the industry has surged into record profits, with the Q1 2013 financial results of the global cruise industry showing net profits of $1.7 billion, a 12.8% increase in earnings.   cruise lines are also reporting record numbers of passengers, with bookings up 4.5%.. Read more about carnival cruise line and let us know what you think.

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  • carnival cruise line
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  • norwegian cruise investor presentation
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