Norwegian Cruise Line Returning To Service With Safety Top of Mind

After more than a year of uncertainty, Norwegian Cruise Line has finally set dates for its long-awaited return to cruising.

Earlier this month, the cruise line announced new itineraries sailing Europe and the Caribbean beginning as soon as July 25, 2021.

The cruise line plans to resume operations at a reduced capacity this summer with Norwegian Jade, Joy and Gem. Norwegian Jade is scheduled to sail seven-day cruises to the Greek Isles from Athens (Piraeus) starting on July 25 while Norwegian Joy will offer week-long Caribbean itineraries from Montego Bay, Jamaica beginning August 7. Travelers can also sail from Punta Cana (La Romana), Dominican Republic on Norwegian Gem starting on August 15.

Guests on these initial sailings will have peace of mind knowing that all passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated . Each voyage will operate under the new SailSAFE Health and Safety program, which focuses on safety for guests and crew with vaccination requirements, universal COVID-19 testing and enhanced health screening protocols as well as safety aboard with medical-grade air filtration, increased sanitation measures and enhanced medical resources and safety ashore through the collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination.

Plus, Norwegian has extended its temporary Peace of Mind cancelation policy for guests sailing on cruises that are booked by April 30, 2021, with embarkation dates through October 31, 2021, allowing them the flexibility to cancel their cruise 15 days prior to departure and receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit which may be applied to any sailing through December 31, 2022.

"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. The growing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a game-changer. The vaccine, combined with our science-backed health and safety protocols, will help us provide our guests with what we believe will be the healthiest and safest vacation at sea," Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer said in a statement.

"All guests sailing aboard cruises with embarkation dates through October 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 November 1, 2021. We will continue to evaluate our health and safety protocols and rely on science and our expert council as we make decisions and evolve our policies and procedures."

Norwegian Jade passengers sailing the Greek Isles can look forward to waking up in a new destination every day with eight to nine hours of port time to explore. Meanwhile, the new Caribbean itineraries will provide guests with up to 10-11 hours of port time at four distinct ports of call, including Norwegian's private resort destination in Belize, Harvest Caye (available on Norwegian Joy sailings from Montego Bay).

Prices for the seven-day Greek Isles voyages from Athens start from $650 per person while both Caribbean itineraries are priced from $496. Now through April 30, travelers can also take advantage of free airfare for the second person in a stateroom and "Free at Sea" offers including free open bar, free specialty dining, free excursions and complimentary Wi-Fi access. What's more, two-for-one deposits are available through May 31.

Visit NCL.com/sail-safe to learn more about how Norwegian plans to resume sailing safely this summer.

Norwegian Cruise Line Returning To Service With Safety Top of Mind

Hongxia Sun