Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has announced that they will be requiring all crew and passengers to be vaccinated and the cruise line hopes to restart cruises in July with cruise ships sailing at 60% capacity.
Norwegian sent a letter to the CDC outlining its plan to resume cruise operations from U.S. ports in July that includes its multi-layered SailSAFE Health and Safety Program developed in conjunction with globally recognized experts, including the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”).
Norwegian Cruise Line’s plan is consistent with the CDC’s updated guidance that international travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals and that COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of cruise ship travel.
By requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crew, the cruise line believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (“CSO”) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits.
Norwegian trusts and is optimistic the CDC will agree that mandatory vaccination requirements eliminate the need for the CSO and therefore requests for the lifting of the order for Norwegian’s vessels, allowing them to cruise from U.S. ports starting July 4.
The cruise line looks forward to its continued partnership with the CDC in recommencing operations with 100% vaccinated guests and crew aboard and reduced capacity initially as part of a phased-in launch.
“We congratulate the CDC on the steps it has taken to further open travel for vaccinated Americans. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings shares the CDC’s view that vaccinations are the primary vehicle for Americans to get back to their everyday lives,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
”We believe that through a combination of 100% mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew and science-backed public health measures as developed by the Healthy Sail Panel, led by former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb, we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment for guests and crew. We look forward to joining the rest of the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors in participating in this next phase of our recovery.”
These stringent requirements will remain in place until public health conditions allow for the implementation of more lenient protocols on cruise ships.