NCL Extends Suspension Through November 2020

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, the operator of such brands as Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, announced in a press release today that all cruises taking place between November 1 and November 30 have been canceled.

Not only that, but the company also announced it had suspended all voyages onboard Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, and Norwegian Dawn through March 2021.

Guests currently booked on canceled voyages on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are asked to contact their travel advisor or the cruise line for more information.

Guests who had an active reservation on a suspended cruise in November 2020 through March 2021 will automatically receive a refund of their cruise fare in the original form of payment for the amount paid within 25 days.

Additionally, a 10% off coupon will be automatically added to the guest’s account, which is valid for one year from the date of issue and can be used for any Norwegian Cruise Line voyage embarking through 2022.

With a combined fleet of 28 ships with approximately 59,150 berths, Norwegian is the third largest cruise operator globally, behind Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean.

Cancellations Not Unexpected

It comes as no surprise that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has reacted in this manner. The extension from the CDC of a No-Sail Order last week brings the suspension to a minimum of October. Not only that, Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, made it clear that he would rather see a suspension of cruising from U.S. ports until February.

Although the White House overruled the CDC Director on a five-month extension, the CDC is still free to add more extensions as it sees fit. With rising numbers worldwide, it seems likely this will be the case.

The hope was for the cruise lines to convince the White House, in a meeting last Friday, to open up the cruise industry in the United States. President Trump has always been an avid supporter of the cruise industry, and the cruise lines would have had a better chance with the President on their side.

However, since President Trump contracted COVID-19, it seems this meeting will come too late for a November start for any cruise line.

The cruise lines earlier stated that they would need at least 30 days to start operations. Bringing all crew members back to the ships will take much more time than usual due to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine periods that crew members will need to go through.

With the uncertainty the cruise lines are currently dealing with it seems unlikely a resumption of cruising is in the near future. Therefore, the hope for the cruise lines lies with a vaccine coming out soon, or a successful COVID-19 test that will be reliable and fast. Crew members on board German TUI ships were tested last week with a rapid test of which the results look promising.

So, although the news lately is not always positive, there is at least some hope on the horizon.

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