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Norwegian becomes first cruise line to announce return of US-based voyages

Ron Hurtibise, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Business News

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings on Monday became the first cruise company to announce plans to resume sailing from ports in the United States — but only if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The company said it would resume voyages from U.S. ports starting July 4 at 60% capacity, with full vaccinations required for guests and crew members at least two weeks before their cruises.

The cruise line would still have to obtain approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A letter to the CDC from Norwegian asserts that planned safety protocols will satisfy the CDC’s requirements.

No U.S.-based itinerary has been announced, and the company said it’s evaluating “the viability of sailing select itineraries” and would make decisions “as quickly and thoughtfully as possible.”

The holding company is parent to three lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Norwegian’s announcement followed Friday’s release by the CDC of revised guidelines that cruise lines must first meet before they can resume.

 

Those guidelines did not specify any date or time period for resumptions, leaving companies to decide their own target dates.

Norwegian’s announcement stressed that by requiring full vaccinations, the company “shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent” of CDC guidelines for resumption.

“We congratulate the CDC on the steps it has taken to further open travel for vaccinated Americans,” Norwegian president Frank Del Rio was quoted in the release as saying. “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings shares the CDC’s view that vaccinations are the primary vehicle for Americans to get back to their everyday lives.”

The announcement was an about-face from the company’s reaction Friday to the CDC’s revised guidelines. That reaction, attributed only to a Norwegian spokesperson, said, “While disappointed in this overdue announcement, we remain optimistic that cruising will resume from U.S. ports before the end of the summer.”

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