In a press release on Apr. 15, the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations and the Belize Tourism Board welcomes a Return to Service announcement from NCL, as it signals the safe reopening of the cruise tourism sector in Belize. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced last week that it will resume port calls to Harvest Caye in Southern Belize, on August 9, 2021. Norwegian Joy will depart from its homeport in Montego Bay, Jamaica on August 7, and will include Belize as a part of its week-long Western Caribbean itinerary.
“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, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “We have been working diligently towards our resumption of operations, focusing on the guest experience with health and safety at the forefront.”
It has been over a year since the cruise industry in our region has been suspended, and the thousands of Belizeans that work in this sector are ready to welcome cruise guests to Belizean shores once again.
Belize Vaccinates Tourism Sector
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Vaccinations are being rolled out to the tourism workforce in Belize, and an increase in tourism businesses in the cruise sector continues to meet the requirements for the Gold Standard Certification (Belize’s Health and Safety Management Program for the Tourism Sector). With the collaboration of the private sector and relevant government agencies, Belize has also developed health and safety protocols that support the safe restart of cruising to Belize.
All guests sailing on cruises embarking through October 31, 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding any Norwegian ship.
Cruise lines have also developed health and safety protocols and have carried thousands of passengers successfully on cruises in Europe and Asia in recent months. NCL will use its SailSAFE Health and Safety Program to ensure the safety of guests while aboard and onshore. As a part of these measures, NCL will require mandatory vaccination of all crew and guests. Each destination on the itinerary will also be operating with enhanced protocols. The ships have undergone extensive renovations such as upgraded medical-grade air filtration systems onboard, upgraded medical facilities, revamped layout of activity areas to meet social distancing and enhanced sanitizing stations, to name a few.
Cruise Tourism in Belize
Within the press release, the BTB states, “The return of cruise tourism is a very important step in Belize’s efforts to recover the economy.” Last month, NCL donated more than $225,000 in dry goods and foods to benefit Belizean families and other southern communities in the Stann Creek District and Belize City. The donation helped local citizens economically impacted by the effects of the global pandemic. As the sector continues to prioritize the health and safety of both guests and locals, Belize—according to the Belize Tourism Board—is committed to the ongoing monitoring and preparation required to welcome additional cruise calls in the coming months.