Full list of new cruise ship launches delayed because of the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the cruise industry.

The ongoing travel restrictions have forced cruise lines to cancel sailings or in some cases suspend operations. (We’ve got a guide on when cruise lines might restart to give you a helping hand).

This year was also set to see the launch of some highly-anticipated ships including Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, P&O Cruises’ Iona and Saga’s Spirit of Adventure, but the pandemic has led to delays in construction meaning launch dates have to be pushed back.

Some cruise ships are still set to make their debut this year, even if Brits may not be able to be on board as, at the time of writing, the Foreign Office advises against cruise travel.

We take a look at some of the biggest ship launches and the latest updates including if their first sailings have been delayed.

Check out the list below…

Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady was due to launch in April, and in fact, made her debut in the UK just before the pandemic began to take hold.

The ship will homeport in Miami, and currently there are sailings planned to begin in November 2020.

Scarlet Lady won’t offer a traditional cruise holiday, instead boasting drag-inspired brunches, rockstar-themed suites, and even an onboard tattoo parlour.

Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Cruises

Blue and white cruise ship Celebrity Apex in a shipyard before her debut in March 2020
Celebrity Apex cruise ship

Celebrity Apex was due to launch in April, but this was delayed because of the pandemic.

However, in September she made a brief appearance in Southampton, ahead of her trans-Atlantic sailing to Florida. From there, she is scheduled to sail in November on itineraries including the Caribbean.

Celebrity Apex boasts a gross tonnage of 129,500 and will hold up to 2,908 passengers.

Iona, P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises’ new ship is called Iona

Iona was set to make her debut in May 2020, but the pandemic meant that this was delayed.

No new date has been confirmed yet, however the cruise line had previously revealed it was looking to take delivery of Iona ‘before the autumn’. She is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Since then, P&O Cruises announced it was cancelling all cruises until early 2021, but did not say if this would impact the plans for Iona’s delivery.

In the meantime, we’ve got a guide on everything we know about Iona so far.

Enchanted Princess, Princess Cruises

Enchanted Princess

Enchanted Princess was due to make her debut in 2020 sailing across Europe, but this has been pushed back.

The ship is still expected to officially join the fleet later this year, although no exact date has been confirmed. Princess Cruises has also announced that she will sail from Rome from May to September on a series of Mediterranean itineraries.

Enchanted Princess will offer heaps of entertainment including pools, a casino, theatre, movie nights under the stars, as well as a wide array of eateries.

Spirit of Adventure, Saga

Spirit of Adventure

Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural cruise is currently set to sail on the 5th November 2020, although its Christmas Sights of Amsterdam itinerary in December has been cancelled.

At the time of writing, Saga has suspended operations through September and October.

MSC Virtuosa, MSC Cruises

MSC Virtuosa

MSC Virtuosa was floated out in November 2019, but her official launch was originally planned for October 2020.

Delays due to the pandemic mean that the ship is now set to make her debut in May 2021. Her first season will be spent sailing on itineraries including the Norwegian Fjords and the Baltics.


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