Good news for cruisers and cruise ship companies seems to be falling into place, with all signs for cruises to be generally available by August, but that doesn't mean there aren't still quite a few wrinkles.
On the plus side, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to a bill that grants a limited waiver of the 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act, which requires foreign-flagged ships (all major cruise ships are) to visit at least one foreign port when sailing between U.S. ports. The bill will allow Alaska cruises to operate out of U.S. ports without stopping in Canada, which has banned all cruise ships until at least next year.
Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Holland-America have all started selling Alaska cruises for late summer and fall.
On the minus side, Royal Caribbean has canceled two of its planned cruise programs; it will not operate its previously-announced eastern Mediterranean cruises based in Israel and visiting Greece and Cyprus due to war conditions in the area, and it will not operate cruises it had planned to base in Bermuda, because once it became likely that U.S.-based cruises would be available this summer, interest in the Bermuda cruises dropped sharply. It will, however, remain an important port stop as it has in the past.
The big cruise lines, with a path cleared by CDC at least for vaccinated passengers, have all announced plans to resume cruises from Florida and Texas ports as well—but not without remaining issues. CDC's current guidance allows sailing sooner, without unpaid test cruises, for ships that operate with a crew that is 98% vaccinated and passengers who are 95% vaccinated. For Florida, at least, that poses a continuing problem, since a new state law prohibits the cruise lines from requiring or even inquiring about vaccination status. That standoff could see cruises canceled or moved to other U.S. ports.
In Europe, where a number of major ships have resumed at least limited cruising, river cruise giant Viking has announced it will resume operations in July, first on Portugal's Douro river followed closely by the Rhine.