Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has proposed a plan to CDC to restart cruising from US ports starting 4 July
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (Norwegian), which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, has announced a ’two-pronged plan’ for its return to cruising in the northern hemisphere this summer.
The company has unveiled its phased cruise resumption for voyages embarking outside of the US, with sailings originating in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Greece beginning in July 2021 with Norwegian Joy, Jade and Gem.
In parallel, the company submitted a proposal to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 5 April 2021, outlining its plan to restart cruising from US ports starting 4 July and requesting the CDC lift the Conditional Sail Order.
Norwegian said all initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew in addition to the company’s SailSAFE health and safety programme, which includes universal Covid-19 testing prior to embarkation. The company also announced the formation of the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council, its expert public health council, chaired by former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration Dr Scott Gottlieb, which will complement the work of the Healthy Sail Panel.
“We are excited to unveil our initial plans for the resumption of cruise voyages embarking outside of the US with sailings to the Caribbean and Europe. In addition, we continue to plan for a resumption of cruising from US ports and await further discussion with the CDC regarding our proposal for a 4 July restart to participate in America’s national opening. As we prepare for our return to cruising, the health and safety of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our first priority, as demonstrated by the establishment of our robust, multi-layered SailSAFE health and safety programme and our company’s SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and chief executive Frank Del Rio.
“Safe and highly effective vaccines are a gamechanger, and to create the safest environment possible, we will require all guests and crew to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccine requirements will be combined with multiple additional layers of protection against Covid-19, including universal testing, and we will continue to evaluate and modify protocols over time as the science dictates.”
Mr Del Rio continued, “The return to cruising has been much anticipated by our loyal guests, valued travel partners, the destinations we visit and our team members across the globe. We look forward to once again delivering best-in-class vacation experiences and also restarting our cruise ecosystem, bringing much-needed economic benefit back to our homeports and the destinations we visit that have been significantly impacted by the halt in cruising.”
In addition to the SailSAFE health and safety programme, guests must comply with all travel requirements of the countries where voyages originate and visit. These requirements may include receiving a negative polymerase chain reaction test result prior to arriving in the country where the cruise originates, testing upon arrival into the country and completing travel entry forms.
Elsewhere, Florida Ports Council has responded to the CDC’s next Phase Conditional Sail Order for cruise ship operators. Florida Ports Council vice president of public affairs Jessie Werner issued a statement, “The cruise industry is essential to Florida’s economy, and keeping it shut down until November would be devastating to Floridians working in the industry as well as our state’s economy. Florida’s cruise industry has advocated for updated federal guidance, and the cruise lines are committed to keeping passengers and crew safe. We look forward to reviewing the CDC’s latest Conditional Sail Order.”
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