Norwegian Cruise to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations
Norwegian Cruise Line revealed today that it will require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all guests and crew when it restarts trips from U.S. ports later this year.
In a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company asked the CDC for permission to return to U.S. waters on July 4. The company said it would require all passengers and crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before boarding. The company said that its plans are “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.”
“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.”
In the letter to the CDC, Norwegian said it will first launch trips at a reduced capacity of 60% and gradually ramp up its fleet departing from U.S. ports. It outlined the following plan to safely resume cruising:
- NCLH will require that all guests embarking from a U.S. port and/or disembarking to a U.S. port provide proof of having been fully vaccinated with an FDA-, EMA-, or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine no less than two weeks prior to their departure date;
- All crew on NCLH vessels will be fully vaccinated with an FDA-, EMA- or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to commencement of their duties onboard their assigned vessel;
- NCLH will also incorporate and operationalize the protocols developed by the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”), 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. These protocols, include universal testing of guests and crew, combined with required vaccines for all guests and crew, thereby creating a safe, “bubble-like” environment; and
- On or about July 4, 2021, NCLH vessels will begin cruise operations at an initial reduced capacity of 60%, gradually ramping up our fleet departing from U.S. ports and increasing capacity by 20% every 30 days.
- These stringent requirements will remain in place until public health conditions allow for the implementation of more lenient protocols.