Where did all the Empty Cruise Ships Go?

My first video about he laid up cruise ships was all the way back in April 2020, when there really wasn’t any clear understanding of how long the cruise pause would last. Throughout most of 2020 and well into 2021, the global cruise industry remained shut down, which had a huge impact for Cunard and all cruise lines.

The global fleet of 300 cruise ships were laid up around the world. Some cruise brands, such as CMV and Pullmantur collapsed, and multiple cruise ships that were sailing at the start of the pandemic were sold for scrap.

Southampton is Britain’s busiest cruise port, and during the pandemic, many UK based ships called there for re-provisioning. The waters of Poole Bay, Babbacombe, Waymouth and Torquay hosted multiple cruise ships across a number of brands.

All three Cunard ships spent much of 2020 and 2021 anchored off the English coast. 

All three Cunard ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria spent much of the year off the English coast, regularly anchoring off Babbacombe and Weymouth.

Nearby in waters south of Torquay, Holland America’s Volendam and Zaandam spend much time anchored with Marella Explorer & Marella Explorer 2 also calling here. Disney Magic spent much of the shutdown in Dover, while Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery were berthed in Tilbury.

In Scotland, Glasgow was home to Azamara’s ships, with Azamara Journey, Quest and Pursuit located at Shieldhall on the River Clyde. The four ships of Fred Olsen Cruises were found at Rosyth, Scotland. This includes Braemar and Balmoral, as well as newcomers Bolette and Borealis – both of which Fred Olsen acquired from HAL during the pandemic.

Since its collapse, the CMV fleet scattered across the globe having been sold off at auction. CMV Columbus, CMV Magellan, CMV Astor and MV. Marco Polo were all sold for scrap while MV Astoria remained laid up.

Waters off the East Coast of the US and throughout the Caribbean resembled a giant ghost cruise ship parking lot. Much of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet were located near Grand Bahama, either at anchor or sailing slowly around the region, and the Celebrity Cruises fleet were also laid up here. This included the new Celebrity Apex, which ventured to the Caribbean having been completed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique during the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships were anchored off Barbados, while Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Vision of the Seas and Independence of the Seas were all berthed at Saint-Martin.

Celebrity Millennium recently anchored off San Diego, while Norwegian Jewel and National Geographic Orion were both positioned off the coast of Los Angeles. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America was still laid up in Hawaii, with the US-flagged ship remaining close to her homeport of Honolulu.

Several Princess ships repositioned to the US. Ruby Princess and Majestic spend time sailing to LA, having also spent months off Port Klang, Malaysia. Diamond Princess remained anchored off Singapore.

P&O Australia’s Pacific Explorer spent much of the pandemic anchored off Manila in the Philippines – unable to return to Australia while the cruise ban remained in place, while the Australian flagged cruise ships Coral Discoverer and True North undertook local cruises in Australian waters.

India’s only local cruise line Jalesh Cruises ceased operations in 2020 leaving their vessel – Karnika – beached at Alang for scrapping. Many cruise ships were scrapped in Turkey as well, including Pullmantur’s Sovereign & Monarch, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination and CMV Astor.

Europe was also home to multiple other new cruise ships, which were expected to enter service in 2020 and 2021…

Genoa, La Spezia and Civitavecchia were popular European berthing locations for laid up ships – with many ships from MSC Cruises, Oceana, Costa Cruises found here during 2020 and 2021. Virgin Voyages laid up Scarlet Lady in Genoa, while sister ship Valiant Lady remained at the Fincantieri shipyard where she is being built during the shut down.

Europe was also home to multiple other new cruise ships, which were expected to enter service in 2020 and 2021. This included P&O’s new Iona, which took refuge in Norway, Carnival’s Mardi Gras, which was based in Finland and Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas which called Papenburg, Germany – where she was built home.