Norwegian Cruise Line has announced further details on resuming operations outside the United States. Two NCL vessels will further the cruise line’s plans on restarting in the Mediterranean following the previous news of Norwegian Gem sailing from Greece this summer.
It comes as cruise lines lose hope of cruises restarting in the U.S. by July 4, 2021, due to the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order that will remain in place until November 1, 2021, unless the CDC Director rescinds the order.
Norwegian Epic and Getaway to Restart in Europe
While operations in the U.S. remain on hold, Norwegian Cruise Line continues to look at shifting ships to alternatives homeports in other countries. The cruise line has now revealed that Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway will begin sailing in the Mediterranean in September 2021.
Norwegian Epic will be based out of Barcelona, Spain offering seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries. The cruises will begin on September 5 through october 24, 2021.
Norwegian Getaway will offer a mixture of 10 to 11-day Greek Isles voyages out of Civitavecchia in Italy, the main port for Rome. Cruises will begin on September 13 and run to October 25, 2021.
Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, said:
“Europe is a top travel destination, so we are very much looking forward to returning to some of our most beloved homeports, resuming those itineraries and welcoming our guests to experience a vacation of a lifetime in the safest possible manner.”
“We are actively working with our local partners and government officials, as we plan for resumption of voyages in the region with Norwegian Epic and Getaway joining Norwegian Jade this summer. Relaunching Norwegian Epic and Getaway will allow us to provide a greater variety of highly sought-after itineraries for those travelers preparing to take their first cruise vacation in over a year.”
There will be new health measures in place to keep guests and crew safe. Norwegian Cruise Line has its Sail Safe Global Health and Safety program and has partnered with local authorities to make sure cruises can be done safely.
Mercè Conesa, president of the Port of Barcelona, said:
“While cruising has not yet restarted from Spanish ports, the Port of Barcelona has been closely working and cooperating with the Spanish Ministry of Health and with the Health Department of the local government of Catalonia towards the same objective: the resumption of cruise traffic following the safest protocols for guests, crew and the inhabitants of Barcelona.”
“We are hopeful that we will soon welcome Norwegian Cruise Line and its guests to Barcelona.”
The Shift Outside the U.S. Continues
There will now be a total of three cruise ships sailing in Europe with NCL already announcing that Norwegian Jade will restart cruises out of Athens, Greece on July 25, 2021, in early April. The cruise line now has a total of five ships that are being redeployed to alternative homeports outside the U.S.
Royal Caribbean has also started shifting cruise ships to alternative countries including the new Odyssey of the Seas that recently arrived in Israel for the very first time. Cruise lines are also moving ships to Caribbean homeports such as Bermuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, and St. Maarten.
The U.S. has remained closed to cruise ship operations for more than a year, and there is a major urge for the CDC to allow cruises to resume by July 4, 2021. The heavily impacted states of Alaska and Florida are also suing the government and CDC to get cruises moving again.
Cruising is coming back this summer in the UK and parts of Europe, but in the U.S., we’ll just have to see what happens.