Norwegian Cruise Line announced Tuesday it would resume trips from late July for passengers who have been fully vaccinated, following a suspension of more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US operator said starting July 25 it will gradually resume cruises, using three ships from its 17-strong fleet to ply new routes in Greece and the Caribbean.
“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,” Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer said in a statement.
Beyond requiring vaccinations and testing for passengers and crew, the company promised to ensure “medical-grade air filtration” on board as well as increased “sanitation measures and enhanced medical resources.”
The operator will also work with partners ashore to ensure passengers who disembark at the various destinations get proper health and safety measures.
The company announced the creation of a council comprised of six experts led Doctor Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), to guide the safe resumption of operations.
But it said the situation was evolving too quickly to make decisions now about safety measures beyond October.
With its ships to set sail for Greece in July and set off from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in August, the restart was welcomed by governments of the three countries, according to the statement. They promised the trips would be safe.
Norwegian Cruise Line added that it would contact customers and travel agents whose reservations on other ships have been cancelled.
International tourist arrivals fell by one billion, or 74 percent, in 2020, according to UN body the World Tourism Organization, which called it “the worst year in tourism history” with losses of $1.3 trillion. (AFP)