Travel Norwegian Cruise Line outlines restart plans with sailings from Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Greece
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So you think you want to take a cruise? First, let me just say that you’ll likely love it. I’ve been cruising for more than 25 years, on just about every line that’s out there, and I can tell you it’s a wonderful way to travel. It’s not for everyone, of course. There are plenty …First, let me just say that you’ll likely love it. I’ve been cruising for more than 25 years, on just about every line that’s out there, and I can tell you it’s a wonderful way to travel.
At least threeships will be back in the water with paying passengers by the end of August.
Thesaid on Tuesday it would resume operations on July 25 with a single vessel, the 2,200-passenger Norwegian Jade, sailing to the Greek Islands out of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens).
Two more Norwegian ships — the 3,802-passenger Norwegian Joy and 2,394-passenger Norwegian Gem — will begin Caribbean sailings out of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and La Romana, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 7 and Aug. 15, respectively, the line said.
Several cruise trips have already been cancelled this year. See when major cruise lines plan on operating again.
No major cruise line - including Carnival and Royal Caribbean - will be setting sail around the US until March the soonest.The cruising industry initially saw a quiet period after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted and extended its no-sail order as the coronavirus pandemic began surging in 2020. But after months of of waiting, in October, the CDC replaced its mandatory sailing pause with the "Framework for Conditional Sailing Order," a list of rigorous requirements needed for cruise lines to continue operating again.
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Like many cruise lines, Norwegian hasn’t operated a single departure since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic in March of 2020. But the company on Tuesday suggested the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines around the world has finally made it possible to safely return to operations.
The line, which operates 17 cruise vessels in all, also has developed afor ships.
“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 president and CEO Harry Sommer said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The growing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a game-changer.”
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“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.”
Norwegian is just the latest major cruise line to announce definitive plans to restart cruising over the summer with sailings out of ports in the Mediterranean, Bahamas and Caribbean.
In some cases, the departures are out of ports that the lines normally do not use as bases.
Like theout of the Bahamas, Bermuda and St. Martin recently announced by , and , Norwegian’s newly announced Caribbean sailings will not originate in or involve any stops at U.S. ports.
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This means they will not require the approval of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They only require the approval of officials in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, which the line now has.
The CDC hasin U.S. waters since March of 2020 due to the . The agency has not yet announced when cruise lines will be able to restart operations in U.S. waters.
The CDC prohibition on cruising in U.S. waters has forced major lines totheir plans for a restart to North American operations over the past year, as the lines typically operate North America sailings out of U.S. ports such as Florida’s and . But in recent days, lines have begun getting around the prohibition by announcing new cruises in North America out of non-U.S. ports.
Taken together, the announcements from Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Crystal mark a significant milestone in the comeback of cruising worldwide after a year-long halt to nearly all cruises due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Like many of the seven big lines that account for the majority of cruises taken by North Americans, Celebrity Cruises offers a wide range of itineraries. You’ll find Celebrity ships in almost every corner of the world at some point during the year. Still, the line’s heaviest presence by far is in the Caribbean, Europe and …Still, the line’s heaviest presence by far is in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska. In a typical summer, the line will deploy six of its 11 main vessels to Europe while sending another three to Alaska. That leaves just two vessels Celebrity typically will assign to Bermuda and Caribbean sailings.
A very limited amount of cruising hasand Asia in recent months. And several very small cruise vessels that are not regulated by the CDC have and intracoastal waterways. But cruising to North America’s most important cruise destinations — the Bahamas and the Caribbean — remains completely shut down.
The Bahamas and Caribbean are the world’s most popular cruise destinations, accounting for the highest percentage of cruises taken by all cruisers worldwide.
Norwegian on Tuesday said all passengers on all of the newly announced sailings would be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to sail. The announcement was an expansion of a policy the line announced Monday toto have a COVID-19 vaccine.
As part of its announcement on Tuesday, Norwegian said the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for sailings would remain in effect through at least Oct. 31. The line suggested that it had not yet made a decision about whether passengers would be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to sail beyond that date.
“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 Nov. 1,” Sommer said. “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.”
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Two more giant cruise ships restarted operations in the Mediterranean over the weekend. But, for now, the trips only are open to local residents. Costa Cruises‘ 5,224-passenger Costa Smeralda — the world’s fifth-largest cruise ship — resumed sailings out of Savona, Italy, on Saturday with the first of a series of seven-night, all-Italy voyages. For …Costa Cruises‘ 5,224-passenger Costa Smeralda — the world’s fifth-largest cruise ship — resumed sailings out of Savona, Italy, on Saturday with the first of a series of seven-night, all-Italy voyages.
In a statement, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, welcomed Norwegian and its newly announced sailings.
“I am very pleased that Norwegian Cruise Line has selected Jamaica as one of the first destinations in the world that it will visit when it resumes service,” Bartlett said. “We look forward to welcoming the cruise line back to our shores, and I am confident that this important partnership will aid in our effort to rebuild our tourism sector and boost our economy overall.”
Luis Abinader, the president of the Dominican Republic, and Harry Theoharis, the Greek minister or tourism, expressed similar sentiments in statements.
“From the very first day, we’ve been committed to taking all of the necessary actions to support the recovery of our tourism sector,” Abinader said. “The cruise line’s presence this summer reaffirms our commitment to providing a safe destination for travelers. We thank [Norwegian] for putting its trust in our country.”
In conjunction with its return to service announcement, Norwegian on Tuesday canceled all July and August itineraries aboard eight of its 17 ships: Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun.
In addition, the line canceled voyages on two more ships — Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl — through Sept. 1 and Nov. 7, respectively.
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Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line
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