Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels South Africa Sailings Due to Omicron Variant

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In a letter sent to booked guests, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced cancellations for Norwegian Jade with embarkation dates from December 3, 2021 through and including January 26, 2022. Guests are receiving full refunds and other offers to compensate for the late notice cancellation.

Norwegian Jade Sailings Cancelled

Guests booked on upcoming sailings of the Jewel-class Norwegian Jade were informed on November 29, 2021 that several sailings in December and January have now been cancelled.

The letter emailed to guests explained, “As we continue to redeploy our fleet around the world, we are focused on providing you with the safest and very best vacation. However, due to the evolving public health concerns in South Africa, we’ve made the decision to cancel voyages aboard Norwegian Jade with embarkation dates of December 21st, 2021 through and including January 26, 2022.”

Norwegian Jade Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Roman Belogorodov /

After the initial email, the December 3, 2021 sailing was also cancelled and guests on that sailing were also contacted.

Norwegian Jade is currently sailing 12-night and 18-night itineraries from Cape Town, South Africa and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, including ports of call in South Africa, Namibia, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Madagascar.

While the cruise line does not specifically reference the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 as the reason for the cancellations, it is likely the discovery of that new strain of the virus has influenced this decision.

Omicron Variant

This new mutation was first reported from South Africa on November 24, 2021, and has quickly become detected in multiple countries, including other African nations as well as the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere.

Because the Omicron variant is so new and has more mutations than noted in previous COVID-19 variants, its transmissibility through populations as well as its reaction to vaccines is still unknown.

Initial reports do indicate that it may be a mild variant, but until more is known it is not surprising that the cruise industry would react quickly to minimize the risk of potential outbreaks in areas where the variant is most widespread.

Cruise Ships Docked in Cape Town South Africa
Cruise Ships Docked in Cape Town South Africa (Photo Credit: Grant Duncan-Smith /

Compensation Offered

Guests impacted by the cancelled sailings will automatically receive a 100% refund of their cruise fare, and if the booking was made with a Future Cruise Credit, that credit will be returned to passengers’ accounts.

If guests choose to rebook on a different sailing, they may be eligible to redeem certain special offers, including:

  • 10% off discount Future Cruise Credit (FCC), valid for one year from issuance and applicable towards all published sailings through March 31st, 2023.
  • 35% off if a new cruise is booked by December 27th, 2021 for any published voyage through 2024.
  • Limited time “TAKE ALL!” offer if a new cruise is booked by December 27th, 2021 for any published voyage through 2024. This adds all five Free at Sea amenities to select stateroom categories for any published voyage, including a free unlimited beverage package, free specialty dining, a free Wi-Fi package, free shore excursion credits, and reduced rates for family and friends. The value of this offer is up to $4,000 per person depending on the booking.
  • $150 free credit and lower deposit for guests who purchase a $150 CruiseFirst certificate, which is a certificate towards their next cruise. Norwegian Cruise Line will match the $150 certificate value with an additional $150 in onboard credit.
Norwegian Cruise Line Ship Funnel
Photo Credit: ackats /

Norwegian Cruise Operations

Norwegian Jade was the first ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to resume sailings anywhere in the world after the pandemic lockdown ceased global cruise operations in March 2020.

On July 25, 2021, Norwegian Jade resumed sailings from the Greek port of Piraeus (Athens), at that time also becoming the first NCL ship to homeport in Athens. To date, nine ships in the Norwegian fleet have restarted operations as part of NCL’s Great Cruise Comeback.

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