Where did all the Empty Cruise Ships Go?

This page was also published in December 2020 on my blog at chrisframe.com.au

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. Fast-forward to December 2020 and for the most part, cruising remains suspended.

Hundreds of cruise ships are laid up around the world. Some cruise brands have collapsed and multiple cruise ships that were sailing at the start of the year, have been sold for scrap.

Lets take a world tour to find the empty cruise ships:

Southampton is Britain’s busiest cruise port – with many UK based ships calling here for re-provisioning. The waters of Poole Bay UK have recently hosted Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.

All three Cunard ships… have spent much of the year off the English coast. 

All three Cunard ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria as well as P&O’s Britannia, Ventura, Azura, Aurora and Aurora have 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 are anchored with Marella Explorer & Marella Explorer 2. Disney Magic has been calling Dover home throughout the year. Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery are berthed in Tilbury.

In Scotland, Glasgow is home to Azamara’s ships, with Azamara Journey, Quest and Persuit located at Shieldhall on the River Clyde. The four ships of Fred Olsen Cruises can be found at Rosyth, Scotland. This includes Braemar and Balmoral, as well as newcomers Bolette and Borealis – both of which Fred Olsen acquired from HAL earlier this year.

Since its collapse, the CMV fleet has scattered across the globe having been sold off at auction. CMV Columbus is heading to Piraeus in Greece, while CMV Magellan is en-route to Port Said in Egypt. MV. Marco Polo is en-route to Dubai where it is said she will be used as an accommodation ship, while MV. Astoria is reportedly heading to Lisbon.

Across the pond, the waters off the East Coast of the US and throughout the Caribbean resemble a giant ghost cruise ship parking lot. Much of the Carnival Cruise Line fleet can be found near Grand Bahama, either at anchor or sailing slowly around the region., with the Celebrity Cruises fleet laid up here. This includes the new Celebrity Apex, which ventured to the Caribbean having been completed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique this year.

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

Celebrity Millennium recently anchored off San Diego, while Norwegian Jewel and National Geographic Orion are both positioned off the coast of Los Angeles. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America is still laid up in Hawaii, with the US-flagged ship remaining close to her homeport of Honolulu. Several Princess ships are repositioning to the US. Ruby Princess and Majestic are en-route to LA, having spent months off Port Klang, Malaysia.

Diamond Princess remains anchored off Singapore. P&O Australia’s Pacific Explorer is currently anchored off Manila in the Philippines – unable to return to Australia. The Australian cruise ban remains in place – barring foreign flagged cruise ships from entering Aussie waters – having now been extended until March 2021. The Australian flagged cruise ships Coral Discoverer and True North are undertaking local cruises in Australian waters.

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

Europe is also home to multiple other new cruise ships, which were expected to enter service in 2020

Genoa, La Spezia and Civitavecchia remain popular berthing locations for laid up ships – with many ships from MSC Cruises, Oceana, Costa Cruises found here. Virgin Voyages  has laid up Scarlet Lady in Genoa, while sister ship Valiant Lady remains at the Fincantieri shipyard where she is being built.

Europe is also home to multiple other new cruise ships, which were expected to enter service in 2020. This includes P&O’s new Iona, which is taking refuge in Norway, Carnival’s Mardi Gras, which can be found in Finland and Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas – still at Papenburg, Germany where she was built.