Norwegian Cruise Line to resume sailing with vaccinated passengers
Norwegian Cruise Line announced Tuesday that it would resume sailing in July, with all passengers required to be vaccinated and tested for COVID-19 before boarding.
“Over a year after we initially suspended sailings, the time has finally come when we can provide our loyal guests with the news of our great cruise comeback,” Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Harry Sommer said in a statement.
“We have been working diligently towards our resumption of operations, focusing on the guest experience with health and safety at the forefront. The growing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a game changer. The vaccine, combined with our science-backed health and safety protocols, will help us provide our guests with what we believe will be the healthiest and safest vacation at sea,” Sommer said.
“All sailing aboard cruises with embarkation dates through Oct. 31, 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding our ships,” he said.
Three Norwegian ships will operate at reduced capacity for voyages around the Greek isles and Caribbean, the company said, with the first cruise set to leave port on July 25. The July voyage will embark from Athens, Greece, while Caribbean cruises will launch from Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Aug. 7 and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on Aug 15.
Norwegian’s announcement comes as the U.S. vaccination rollout has resulted in more than one-third of all U.S. adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.
A Friday statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding commercial cruises launching from U.S. ports offered no timeline for the resumption of operations.
Cruise ships became hot spots for the COVID-19 virus in the early days of the pandemic last year, with several ships being refused entry at ports due to outbreaks on board.