Norwegian Cruise Line to Begin Operations Outside the U.S. in July

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What we’ve all been waiting for has now been officially announced. Norwegian Cruise Line will be redeploying three ships to sail itineraries in Europe and the Caribbean. 

Starting July 25, 2021, the cruise line has announced itineraries from Pireaus in Greece, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and Montego Bay in Jamaica. It seems then the cruise line wants to be fully prepared should the company get a negative response from the CDC on its plans to sail from the US on July 4th. 

As we expected, with its return to service, the Cruise Line today canceled all July and August itineraries aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Dawn, Escape, Getaway, Sky, Spirit, Star, and Sun. In addition, voyages aboard Norwegian Epic through Sept. 1, 2021; and Norwegian Pearl through Nov. 7, 2021, have also been canceled. 

Jade, Joy, and Gem 

The Cruise Line will restart operations at a reduced capacity with Norwegian Jade, Joy, and Gem as the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests back on board. The cruise line will be offering seven-day cruises to the Greek Isles on Norwegian Jade from Athens (Piraeus) starting July 25, 2021.

Guests sailing aboard Norwegian Jade’s Greek Isles itinerary will get about 8-9 hours of port time each day, while the cruise line plans to have Jade berth or anchor in a new location each day. Which ports will be featured is unclear at this time.

Norwegian Joy will sail from Montego Bay, Jamaica as of Aug. 7, 2021. The last itinerary released by Norwegian Cruise Line are cruises from Punta Cana (La Romana), Dominican Republic onboard Norwegian Gem beginning Aug. 15, 2021.

These new Caribbean itineraries provide guests with ten to 11 hours of port time with each sailing featuring only two days at sea and four distinct ports of call. In addition, guests embarking on voyages from Montego Bay, Jamaica on Norwegian Joy will visit Harvest Caye, the company’s private resort destination in Belize.

Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and Chief Executive Officer said the following:

“Over a year after we initially suspended sailings, the time has finally come when we can provide our loyal guests with the news of our great cruise comeback. We have been working diligently towards our resumption of operations, focusing on the guest experience with health and safety at the forefront.

Whether the ships sail from the U.S. or not, the cruise line intends to keep its vaccination mandate until at least October 31, 2021.

As we reported yesterday, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has asked the CDC to let it sail from U.S. ports starting July 4, saying its vaccination requirement for passengers and crew is a sufficient precaution against Covid-19.

“All guests sailing aboard cruises with embarkation dates through Oct. 31, 2021 will be required to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding our ships. Given the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic, the accelerating rollout of the vaccine, and the speed of scientific learnings, it is premature to make decisions about our health and safety protocols for cruises with embarkation dates beginning Nov. 1, 2021.

Jamaica, Greece, and Dominican Republic Overjoyed with the Arrival of NCL

While some government entities are not as forthcoming, the Jamaican, Greek, and the Dominican Republic’s governments are overjoyed of the prospect of ships sailing from their shores.

Also Read: Could Jamaica Be the Next Target for a Cruise Homeport?

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said:

“I am very pleased that Norwegian Cruise Line has selected Jamaica as one of the first destinations in the world that it will visit when it resumes service. We look forward to welcoming the Cruise Line back to our shores, and I am confident that this important partnership will aid in our effort to rebuild our tourism sector and boost our economy overall.

President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic: 

“From the very first day, we’ve been committed to taking all of the necessary actions to support the recovery of our tourism sector. The Cruise Line’s presence this summer reaffirms our commitment to providing a safe destination for travelers. We thank NCL for putting its trust in our country.”

Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis said: 

“We warmly welcome the announcement of Norwegian Cruise Line restarting its cruises from Greece. In 2020, we safely opened tourism and we are working to continue to do the same this year, so travelers go home with memories that they are proud to share and that last a lifetime.”

Norwegian Cruise Line has now joined ranks with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises with offering multiple homeports outside the U.S. Something that will be unwelcome news for those U.S. government officials that have been fighting for a return of cruising to the U.S.

Norwegian Cruise Line will be hoping for a restart in the U.S., but should that not come to fruition, it will have a backup available.

Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

Curious How the Resumption Will Work? 

For those that are curious how Norwegian Cruise Line will go about its resumption of cruises, there is some good news. The line will be making a new series which will air on its website and Facebook page called Embark- The Series. The series will be premiering on April 15 at 8:00 PM.

Norwegian Cruise Line has extended its temporary Peace of Mind cancelation policy to guests sailing on cruises booked by April 30, 2021 with embarkation dates through Oct. 31, 2021.

Worth Reading: Norwegian Cruise Line Requires All Crew to Be Vaccinated

These guests have the flexibility to cancel their cruise 15 days prior to departure. Those who take advantage of the Peace of Mind policy will receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit which may be applied to any sailing through Dec. 31, 2022.

In addition, final payment for all voyages with embarkations through Oct. 31, 2021, will require payment 60 days prior to embarkation versus the standard 120 days

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