Norwegian Cruise Holdings released a major update on Friday with the latest situation across its three cruise brands, outlook on bookings, and the restart of operations. It comes as Norwegian Cruise Line is restarting cruises in the U.S. over the weekend for the first time since the industry shutdown in Spring 2020.
Entire Fleet to Be Back by April 1, 2022
It’s that time of year when cruise lines are releasing their business updates, including Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and its three cruise brands of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The good news is that the situation is on the up, especially now that Norwegian Jade became the first in the fleet to resume operations in over 500 days! The ship departed Piraeus in Greece on July 25 with guests onboard. It marks its great comeback, something the company has been covering with its EMBARK video series.
“Last week we reached a historic milestone in our Great Cruise Comeback with the successful commencement of our relaunch with the first ship in our fleet, Norwegian Jade, sailing the Greek Isles. Tomorrow will mark our first cruise in the United States in over 500 days as Norwegian Encore sets sail from Seattle to Alaska,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Del Rio continued to say, “As we recommence operations, we are putting health and safety at the forefront with our robust, science-backed SailSAFETM health and safety program, including our 100% vaccination policy which applies across all voyages on our three brands. We are ready and eager to welcome guests back onboard and continue to see incredible strength in our booking trends for future cruises. Our team is working tirelessly to execute on our plan to return our full fleet to operation by April 2022 to capitalize on this unparalleled pent-up demand.”
All 28 cruise ships across the three brands are expected to be back sailing by April 1, 2022. 75% of the fleet is expecting to be operating by the end of this year. The restart will really begin to increase through August, with Norwegian Encore becoming the first in the fleet to restart in the U.S. The ship will restart Alaska sailings out of Seattle, Washington, on July 7, 2021. On August 15, Norwegian Gem will then resume sailings from Miami, Florida.
The Battle With Florida Continues
Even though the cruise line still plans on resuming operations out of Florida, there is still an ongoing situation with the state’s vaccine passport ban. With the cruise company unable to reach a solution with the state on asking guests for proof of vaccination, In June, NCLH asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to invalidate Florida’s prohibition and to grant a preliminary injunction to allow the Company to resume sailing in the safest way possible.
With the growing spread of new variants and other cruise lines increasing their requirements in recent days, making sure guests are fully vaccinated is more important than ever. There is a hearing on August 6 on its motion for a preliminary injunction, and very soon, Norwegian Cruise Line will have more clarity on its path to resuming cruises from Florida.
The company is keeping things simple with fully vaccinated guests and crew with every vessel.
Bookings Looking Good
On the booking front, the situation is looking more positive. Despite reduced marketing, 2022 bookings are looking stronger than in 2019. This even includes bookings using Future Cruise Credit due to previous cancellations. Ticket sales were $1.4 billion as of June 30, 2021.
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The strong bookings come in good time, with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings having a monthly average cash burn of $200 million in the second quarter. This is higher than the $190 million in the first quarter. It comes as cruise lines are having to prepare for the restart of operations globally. This includes several things such as bringing ships back up to full crew capacity, provisions, maintenance, and repositioning to homeports.