Have we just got the biggest hint yet that a new round of cruise suspensions are on the way? That could now be a possibility as Norwegian Cruise Line has removed all May sailings from its website.
UPDATE: It’s now official that NCL has suspended operations through May 2021. It was announced on Tuesday morning. Here is our full update.
May Sailings Are Gone!
It now seems that Norwegian Cruise Line has removed all May sailings from its website and booking engine. Over the weekend, cruisers started noticing that they were no longer able to find any sailings from the cruise line for May 2021. The earliest cruises currently on the site are in June 2021.
May was the earliest when operations would resume for the cruise line, but with the situation remaining very fluid, it would not be a surprise that cruises were removed intentionally to prepare for a further suspension.
Nothing has yet been confirmed by NCL, and it could just be some maintenance, but it has already been days. As part of the Conditional Sailing Order framework from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, cruise ships will need to sail at limited capacity, so this could just be to control bookings.
Sister lines Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises which are also owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings still have May sailings but only outside the United States.
A New Round of Suspensions?
We’ve been down this route before with cruise lines removing cruises from the booking engine and then days later voyages suspended for another month. The fact is that cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line, are waiting for the CDC for more guidance and details.
We have not yet heard anything about test sailings and cruise lines yet which could be another reason to delay the restart of operations. As part of the Conditional Sailing Order, the CDC requires test sailings to stress test any new health protocols to ensure that guests and crews can remain safe.
As of writing this, NCL has suspended operations through April 2021. There was hope that three NCL ships would restart sailings in April but they were later suspended too. Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have also cancelled cruises through April.
Norwegian Cruise Line has already sent a letter to crew members who re-joined cruise ships in late 2020 in anticipation of resuming operations. Unfortunately, the letter informed the non-essential crew that they would have to be repatriated.
Between them, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Encore are sailing to countries such as India, Indonesia, and the Philipines to get crew members back home and this is expected to be completed in April 2021.
Cruise Hive will continue to monitor any new developments from Norwegian Cruise Line and keep readers updated.
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