On Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced its highly awaited return to service, with new itineraries sailing Europe and The Caribbean starting on 25 July 2021.
“The Cruise Line will restart operations at a reduced capacity with Norwegian Jade, Joy and Gem as the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests back on board,” Norwegian said in a release.
Passengers will have the opportunity to spend this summer exploring the ancient ruins and sunny beaches on the 7-day voyage visiting the Greek Isles on Norwegian Jade from Athens starting July 25. Week-long Caribbean sailings will also run from Montego Bay in Jamaica beginning August 7 on Norwegian Joy or from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on Norwegian Gem beginning 15 August.
Norwegian announced that their new Caribbean itineraries will dock for 10-11 hours in each of the four ports of call and that the ships will spend only two days at sea. Passengers on Norwegian Joy from Montego Bay will have the opportunity to visit Harvest Caye, the Company’s private resort destination in Belize.
“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,” said Harry Sommer, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer. All efforts are being made by the cruise line towards their resumption of operations, with the main focus on the guest experience with health and safety at the forefront.
The roll out of COVID-19 vaccines has been a game-changer. “All guests sailing aboard cruises with embarkation dates through 31st October 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding our ships. Given the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic, the accelerating rollout of the vaccine, and the speed of scientific learnings, it is premature to make decisions about our health and safety protocols for cruises with embarkation dates beginning 1st November 2021. We will continue to evaluate our health and safety protocols and rely on science and our expert council as we make decisions and evolve our policies and procedures,” said Sommer.
Although the Cruise Line already had strong health and safety protocols in place, it has spent the last year further developing and refining these protocols, using the latest scientific findings and expert advice. On Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings launched its SailSAFE Health and Safety program, which is founded on three pillars:
- Safety for guests and crew with vaccination requirements, universal COVID-19 testing and enhanced health screening protocols;
- Safety aboard with medical-grade air filtration, increased sanitation measures and enhanced medical resources;
- Safety ashore through the collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination.
Norwegian isn’t the only cruise line to announce its sailings in other waters. A month ago, Royal Caribbean announced its sailings in Israel, Bermuda and the Bahamas. Celebrity cruises also added itineraries for St. Maarten — Of course with specific vaccine requirements.