What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (2023)

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (1)

Cruise ship in the Caribbean (Photo: Dietwal/Shutterstock.com)

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (2)

Cruise ship in the Caribbean (Photo: Dietwal/Shutterstock.com)

(Video) We sailed our first Mediterranean Cruise 2023 | Our Honest Full Review | The Good, Bad and Ugly

As worldwide restrictions begin to ease from the global health pandemic, summer 2022 cruises are set to feel the most "normal" since the pre-COVID days. Cruise lines are returning entire fleets to service; cruises can now resume in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand waters; and a return to easier global travel looks and feels more like it once did -- and certainly more familiar than the odd (but welcomed) summer 2021 season.

However, it's not necessarily business as usual in cruise land. Supply chain issues are causing major headaches for lines with new ships under construction, crew shortages are keeping capacity artificially lowered on some vessels, and high airfare, war in the Ukraine and anxiety around COVID-19 testing is softening demand for some overseas destinations.

(Video) 6 Cruises To Now Steer Clear Of (Even If Looks Good In The Brochures !)

For those booked on a summer 2022 cruise -- or those just thinking of setting sail this year -- here are some things to consider.

New Ships May Be Delayed

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (5)

Norwegian Prima at Fincantieri shipyard (Photo by Gwen Pratesi)

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the carefully timed schedules of shipbuilders, and the global supply chain crunch isn't helping matters. Already, the knock-on effect is hitting some of the newest and most eagerly anticipated ships: Disney Cruise Line was forced to delay Disney Wish's entry into service to this summer; Seabourn Venture was pushed back once again, and Norwegian Cruise Line's hotly anticipated Norwegian Prima is now delayed until September 3, 2022.

What does that mean for cruisers booked on inaugural voyages of some of 2022's hottest cruise ships? Take all entry-into-service dates with a grain of salt -- and know that if you're booked on the second, third or even 23rd voyage, you just might find yourself on the inaugural sailing unexpectedly.

Crew Shortages Could Lead to Changes or Canceled Sailings

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (6)

Pride of America at sunset in Kahului, Maui. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

As much as cruise lines are battling with supply chain issues, a different sort of issue is brewing in the personnel department: the lack of qualified crewmembers. This affects nearly every cruise line, though some are being hit harder than others.

Cruise Critic sailed aboard the debut voyage of Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America this past April -- one that had reduced passenger numbers and several shuttered specialty dining venues due to a reduction of onboard staff. It is an issue that is expected to last well into the summer.

Norwegian isn't alone. Cunard Line was forced to limit capacity aboard summer 2022 sailings of its Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in Europe and Alaska, respectively, due to crew shortages -- and that has translated into some booked passengers having their reservations canceled.

On May 16, Carnival began informing passengers it would temporarily shutter its popular Italian venue, Cucina del Capitano, on voyages throughout June. Passengers with reservations at the exclusive Chef's Table dining experience also saw their bookings canceled due to staff shortages.

"The challenge of securing visas for cruise industry employees has impacted staffing levels, particularly in our culinary team," Carnival wrote in a letter to affected passengers.

"We are making some modest adjustments to some of our service offerings for the time being, so that we can maximize the guest experience and our guest service. Most of these will have a negligible impact. However, one change that will impact your cruise is that we are temporarily suspending dinner service at Cucina del Capitano across the fleet through the end of June. Note: Cucina on Mardi Gras will continue to function as normal."

Crew shortages are likely going to be an issue for a while. If service seems a little slower than you remember from past voyages, try to exercise a little patience: if the crew in a particular bar or lounge look a little overworked, consider getting a drink from a less-crowded venue.

Not Everything You Want Might Be Onboard

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (7)

Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail (Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)

(Video) We sailed our first Alaska Cruise 2022 | Our Honest Full Review | The Good, Bad and Ugly

The supply chain doesn't just affect the construction of new ships. On Cruise Critic's sailings in 2022, we've found that certain supplies have just flat-out failed to reach the ship in time. That doesn't mean that your ship will depart without food or beverages (far from it), but rather there might be a limited number of certain items -- or select menu items might be unavailable throughout the cruise.

We've found this on past cruises primarily with alcohol. Looking for that tasty IPA on the beer menu? It might not be onboard. Prefer Hendricks over Tanqueray in your martini's? You might need to be a little more flexible.

Requirements Might Change Overnight

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (8)

Mask up on Carnival Radiance ( Photo by K. Alex Beaven)

Just because cruise lines have reduced their COVID-19 health requirements in keeping with local authorities like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that doesn't mean that these protocols can't change -- or be reinstated at any given time.

Recently, passengers aboard Celebrity Apex were advised to don masks once again when transiting the ship's public spaces after COVID-19 cases onboard hit 3% of passengers. Bring those face masks along with you -- just in case.

On the plus side, there are some definite positives associated with cruising in summer 2022.

Ships Will Likely Still Be Under Capacity

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (9)

The Schooner Bar aboard Serenade of the Seas. (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

Consider this a real perk, particularly in Europe where demand from North American travelers is still soft. Vessels are likely to remain under full capacity for most sailings this summer, though some might be approaching numbers that look (and feel) like old times.

This is a boon for passengers looking for more personal space -- and those looking to perhaps win an upgrade bid for a higher category of stateroom or suite for lines that offer an upgrade bid process.

Enjoy this extra space while it lasts. Much like the travel industry has seen in the aviation sector, these lower-capacity sailings could be a thing of the past in the very near future -- and cruise lines are banking on it to revive their struggling balance sheets.

Full Fleets Will Be Back in Service

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (10)

Cruise Critic Q&A with Captain Vittorio Marchi, Captain of Carnival Spirit (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

Unlike summer 2021 when only a handful of ships were back in service, summer 2022 sees most cruise lines returning to operate their entire fleet of ships. And that's good news for cruisers, offering more itineraries, more choice and more cabins from which to choose.

While cruise lines typically brought their newest and biggest ships online first, old favorites and classics are returning to the seas in droves. Norwegian Cruise Line recently welcomed its 1998-built Norwegian Spirit back into service, while Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Splendor completed the restart of the entire Carnival fleet when it set sail from Seattle in early May.

(Video) 6 Best Ways to Score a "Last Minute" Cruise Deal *right now*

Deals And Incentives Will Still Be Around

What to Expect from Summer 2022 Cruises | Cruise Critic (11)

Fred Olsen Cruises Main Pool (Photo: Fred Olsen Cruises)

Perhaps the final takeaway for those looking to cruise during summer 2022 is that the deals will still be around. Cruise lines know that booking trends are shifting to less than 100 days out in many cases and are willing to offer up incentives (as opposed to price reductions) to fill their ships as much as possible. Expect to see offers touting drink packages, specialty restaurants, and even airfare credits on select sailings well into the summer months.

Despite some of the challenges, all of this is positive news for cruisers looking to sail once again this summer -- the first, mostly full, summer cruise season in three years.

Updated May 17, 2022

How was this article?

Top 15 deals today

(Video) Our Alaska Cruise 2022- 6 Things That SHOCKED Us: Our Lessons Learned


1. What I Did WRONG on my Mediterranean Cruise *what I would do differently*
(Life Well Cruised)
2. 4 Cruise Lines Running Rings Around Their Competitors!
(Tips For Travellers)
3. Everything you NEED to Know Celebrity Cruises
(Traveling Flamingo)
4. Everything Included on Princess Cruises in 2022 | Plus What Will Cost EXTRA!
(Eat Sleep Cruise)
5. 7 Night Cruise to Spain, Italy & France! | MSC Grandiosa Full Ship Tour (his first cruise ever!)
(Our Story to Tell)
6. What I Wish I Knew Before I Sailed an Alaskan Cruise
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated: 02/07/2023

Views: 6803

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.