Once again, it’s been a hectic week for cruise news, and you can stay on top of it all with Cruise Hive, the leader in cruise industry coverage. In this week’s update, we have stories about Viking, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises.

Count on Cruise Hive to deliver the cruise news you need to know about. Here’s our weekly recap of the major stories we covered in the last week, including the investigation into technical failures that crippled Viking Sky in 2019, Royal Caribbean suspending port calls to Labadee for at least a month, Disney Cruise Line revealing the name of a new ship under construction, a burst water pipe flooding areas of a Seabourn Cruise Line ship, Norwegian Cruise Line warning guests about traffic problems around PortMiami, and MSC Cruises revealing its newest ship will be christened at PortMiami.

The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority filed its investigative report into why a Viking cruise ship lost propulsion and steering power off the Norwegian coast in 2019, putting at risk the lives of everyone on board.

The report found several safety lapses and technical failures, and concluded that the 930-guest Viking Sky should not have left port while operating a 13-night Northern Lights journey. The ship lost power after departing from a port call at Tromsø, Norway, and encountering rough weather on March 23, 2019. 

The blackout and loss of propulsion and steering caused the crippled ship to nearly run aground, causing a partial evacuation of guests by coast guard ships and helicopters.

Viking Sky Cruise Ship Storm (Credit: Frank Einar Vatne)

Among the findings: There was insufficient lubricating oil in the ship’s diesel generators’ sump tanks, and one of the vessel’s four diesel generators was out of service when Viking Sky departed Tromsø — a violation of Safe Return to Port (SRtP) regulations.

Moreover, onboard engineers had insufficient training to cope with the emergency, and that was likely the reason why it took nearly 40 minutes to restore power. The engines were restored to just a minimum capacity, moving the ship at less than 5 knots.

The NSIA’s report includes 14 safety recommendations designed to prevent any similar incidents in the future.

Port call visits to Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private destination on Haiti’s north coast, are cancelled for at least the next month due to the ongoing crisis in the island nation. 

Pulling the port call from ship itineraries enables the line to arrange alternate ports and notify guests farther in advance of departures on cruises that were to feature the destination.

At the outset of Haiti’s civil unrest, Royal Caribbean ships were still calling at Labadee, but the line had cancelled shore excursions that required guests to leave the destination’s secured compound.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship in Labadee, Haiti (Photo Credit: EWY Media)

A few days later, the line suspended port calls for seven days, with continued suspension on a rolling basis as the line monitored the situation. Now, with all port calls nixed, itinerary changes are being finalized for ships slated to call at Labadee. 

Explorer of the Seas‘ 5-night cruise from Miami departing on March 31, for example, will instead call at Grand Cayman, while the ship’s April 14 departure will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay in place of Labadee.

Oasis of the Seas’ March 31 departure from Miami on a 7-night cruise was to visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, but will now spend two days at the private destination.

Disney Cruise Line announced the name of its third Wish-class ship, Disney Destiny, now under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and due to sail in 2025. 

The news came on the same day that the vessel’s keel was laid, a construction milestone that features the maritime tradition of placing lucky ceremonial coins under the keel.

The cruise line also revealed that “Hero Minnie” will grace the ship’s bow in a superhero-style stance, and that the new ship will sport a “Heroes and Villains” design theme.

Disney Destiny Cruise Ship

Elements will focus on Disney’s legendary characters, popular villains, and beloved heroes. Marvel characters will be featured on the ship, too, along with other Disney favorites from “The Lion King,” “Hercules,” and “One Hundred and One Dalmatians.”

The 4,000-guest Disney Wish, the first in the Wish class, debuted in 2024. Besides Disney Destiny, the cruise line has two other ships under construction or renovation — Disney Treasure, a new-build set to launch in December 2024, and Disney Adventure, formerly known as Global Dream, slated to begin sailing in spring 2025. (Disney Adventure was partially built when Disney Cruise Line bought it in 2022.)

The cruise line has not yet announced a delivery date or home port for Disney Destiny.

A broken water pipe onboard Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Sojourn caused a temporary flood as water poured down the ship’s spiral stairway and inundated the central atrium on March 20, 2024.

The stairway connects five decks, from Deck 4 to 9, and a video of the flooding shows multiple decks were impacted by the water. The ship’s crew immediately addressed the situation, controlling the spread of water and soaking it up.

Seabourn Sojourn Atrium Flooding (Photo Credits: Eduard Planting / SeregaSibTravel)

The ship remained fully operational and no injuries to guests or crew were reported. Guests noted that the vessel was navigating rough seas at the time when the pipe broke, but it is unknown whether sea conditions played any role in the incident.

The 450-guest ship was sailing in the South China Sea on a 73-night segment of her world cruise. The segment concludes in Taiwan on March 24, 2024.

Water issues onboard cruise ships are uncommon, but they do happen. In 2023, an emergency maneuver caused a pool to overflow aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, sending a flood of water down six decks. In 2022, a sprinkler malfunctioned on the line’s Wonder of the Seas, creating a flood on the ship’s Deck 5.

The annual Ultra Music Festival in Miami this weekend, from March 22 to 24, 2024, is expected to cause big traffic headaches in the area, including around PortMiami, and one cruise line is alerting booked guests sailing from the port to allow plenty of extra time getting to their ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line, with four ships operating at the port this weekend, emailed travel agents and booked cruisers with a reminder that heavy traffic along with road closures near the port should be expected. The music event, which draws some 165,000 people, happens in Bayfront Park, less than a mile from PortMiami.

Norwegian Cruise Line Ship in Miami, Florida (Photo Credit: Solarisys)

The notice detailed road closures and detour re-routings along busy Biscayne Boulevard, where the port entrance is located.

This weekend 19 cruise ships will move through PortMiami, including Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Joy, and Norwegian Encore.

Other cruise lines with ships sailing from Miami this weekend include Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, and Seabourn Cruise Line. All told, about 36,000 cruise guests will transit the port on March 22, 45,600 guests on March 23, and a whopping 60,000 guests on March 24.

PortMiami will be the site for the christening ceremony of MSC Cruises’ new ship, MSC World America, when she debuts in spring 2025. The vessel, a sister ship to MSC World Europa, is under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France.

The 215,863-gross ton MSC World America, with a guest capacity of 6,762 with all berths occupied, will home port at PortMiami and sail alternating Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean cruises.

MSC World America and Miami Terminal

Her naming ceremony is set for April 9, 2025, and will be held at MSC Cruises’ new terminal at PortMiami. While details of the traditional maritime event have not yet been announced, they are likely to feature live music, VIP speeches, and previews of onboard entertainment. A short preview cruise for trade partners and media will follow the naming event.

The ship’s maiden voyage departs from Miami on April 12, 2025. The 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing will visit the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.

MSC Cruises’ new terminal at PortMiami is under construction. When completed, it will be the world’s largest cruise terminal, able to accommodate up to 36,000 guests per day.

Now that you’re up to date on the big headlines, check out even more stories on Cruise Hive, including Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity emerging from dry dock with a set of luxurious upgrades, an MSC Cruises’ ship becoming the first to resume operations from mainland China, and bad weather affecting the itinerary of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship bound for Bermuda. Also, Viking marks the start of the river cruise high-season in Europe, and expedition line HX will adopt an all-inclusive pricing format.

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