Sailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, Norwegian Dawn becomes the 10th Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship to resume operations on December 8. With the addition of NCL, those wishing to take a cruise from Tampa can now choose between four major US-based cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Norwegian Dawn is scheduled to sail on a series of cruises ranging between 5- and 14-days in length. However, some of her calls are facing protests from locals.
Tampa Bay Welcomes Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Cruise Line offers guests from the Tampa area the chance to explore the Caribbean in-depth. Sailing from Tampa Bay on December 8, Norwegian Dawn will set sail on an 11-day voyage to Key West, Amber Cove, St. Thomas, Curacao, Aruba, and Grand Cayman.
From December through April 2022, Norwegian Dawn will offer guests a wide variety of Caribbean cruises, such as 11-day cruises that include calls to the Bahamas and Southern Caribbean.
Harvest Cay in Belize, the cruise line’s private resort is included for Norwegian Dawn on 7-day cruises from Tampa, which also includes calls in Cozumel and Costa Maya. In February of 2022, there will be a 14-day cruise that explores the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
Norwegian Cruise Line Operational With 10 Ships
After a relatively slow start earlier this year, Norwegian Cruise Line has picked up the pace lately as is now operational with 10 ships worldwide, including the Caribbean, Europe, The US west coast, Bermuda, and more.
Norwegian Jade was the first cruise ship to start operations for the cruise line back in July of this year, since then the company has rolled out its fully vaccinated cruise program worldwide.
Besides Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Pearl will also be resuming operations later this year. She is currently in the Mediterranean and will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean soon and head for her new home port of Miami, Florida. On December 23 the ship will start a series of cruises to the Caribbean and Panama Canal.
Key West Prepares For Protests, Grand Cayman in the Balance
The first port of call for Norwegian Dawn is to Key West, and Grand Cayman as the last port. Two ports of call in the Caribbean have been in the news in the last year for proposed cruise ship bans. Although the Cayman Islands seem to have made a turnaround lately by allowing at least one ship in, there has been no confirmation that Norwegian Dawn will be allowed in.
In Key West, the situation has been close to boiling point for some time now. So much so that locals and environmental groups are preparing protests against the arrival of Norwegian Dawn.
The Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships said this: “The Norwegian Dawn will be the largest cruise ship to visit Key West since March of 2020. The 91,000-ton large cruise ship is 951′ long, with a draft of 28′, and has a total capacity of more than 3,200 persons. Norwegian Dawn greatly exceeds the size limits enacted by a supermajority of local voters, which were later overturned by the Florida Legislature. The ship is expected to dock at Pier B around 10am.”
(please note: Norwegian Dawn has a maximum capacity of just 2800 guests; however, double occupancy capacity is just 2340).
While cruise ships have been banned from the docks exploited by the city, Pier B is owned by a private operator. That being said, the legal battles continue whether or not cruise ships should be banned at all from Key West. According to the same statement from the local environmental group, guests onboard have nothing to fear from the protests:
“We are protesting the ship and what it represents for our democracy, our environment, and our economy, not the innocent passengers it contains. We will not directly interact with, or discourage, the passengers of this ship, nor impede the vessel’s movements, but will peacefully express our opposition to the overturning of our election and the ongoing environmental violations committed by large cruise ships.”
As for Grand Cayman, it’s not clear whether Norwegian Cruise Line obtained permission from the Cayman Islands to sail here. So far, reports from the Cayman Islands only state permission has been granted for Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam on December 28. It could mean one more itinerary change for Norwegian Cruise Line—something the company has been doing quite often lately.