Following test cruises with employees, travel advisors and invited guests, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will restart operations at a reduced capacity with Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Gem as the first ships in its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests back onboard. The “restart” voyages, which will be capacity-controlled, restart with Caribbean cruises. The first of which being Norwegian Joy from Montego Bay, Jamaica, on August 7, 2021, which is scheduled to visit Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ private resort destination in Belize. Each itinerary will offer 10 to 11 hours of port time, only two days at sea and four different ports of call.
“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.”
Why were those ships selected? Katina Athanasiou, Norwegian’s chief sales officer, said those ships were picked “because we wanted to be able to give our guests the experience that we believe our guests want in those destinations,” citing for example, Norwegian Joy’s “amazing activities and dining venues.”
Sommer called the growing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine “a game-changer,” adding that the vaccine coupled with Norwegian’s 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.”
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.
“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 November 1, 2021,” Sommer noted.
Those are expected to evolve as the line continues to evaluate its health and safety protocols.
Cancellations of More Cruises
In conjunction with its return-to-service announcement, Norwegian also cancelled all July and August 2021 itineraries aboard Norwegian Breakaway, NorwegianDawn, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun. In addition, voyages aboard Norwegian Epic through September 1, 2021; and Norwegian Pearl through November 7, 2021 have also been canceled. Guests and travel partners with impacted reservations will be contacted directly.