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All NCL Non-Essential Crew To Be Repatriated Home by April 2021

Submitted by kgnadmin on

Norwegian Cruise Line will return all crew members that joined recently and isn't part of the skeleton crew back home. The difficult decision was announced in a meeting yesterday and the crew on board received a letter with all the details regarding the latest repatriation process. 

In hopes that the company will return to service, NCL boarded thousands of crew members back in November and December 2020, to prepare the cruise ships for a possible restart and compliance with the CDC regulations. However with the latest announcement and further suspension of operations issued by Norwegian Cruise Line on January 19, that they will delay the start of cruising through April 30, 2021, the company realized they are not going to be starting anytime soon.

Two months ago 1000+ crew members boarded Norwegian Escape in Mumbai, India, while Norwegian Joy set sail from Manila, Philipines with 1216 returning crew. Back then NCL was also working on a deployment plan for crews to join Norwegian Spirit in Europe and assigning them to the Encore and Bliss.

The repatriation process will take place on two appointed ships. The Norwegian Joy which is in Aruba will gather non-essential crew from the ships stationed in the Caribbean and will proceed to the Philippines.

The Norwegian Encore which is in Southampton will make a few different stops along her journey back to Asia. The repatriation process will be similar to the one that took place last year with crew transfers to the appropriate vessel, before the crew finally sails to their homes in India, Indonesia and the Philippines, with anticipated arrival to the final destinations in late March or early April 2021.

This will be a long and sad journey for all the crew onboard as their hopes and dreams to be the first to set sail with guests onboard will not materialize at this point. They have made countless sacrifices, PCR tests, and quarantines to join the ships again to serve guests and ultimately provide for their family.

This decision did not come easy and the repatriation of the crew once again was not in the company plan. However, with the further cancelations of cruises, NCL believes that the crew will be better off from the comfort of their home and loved ones before re-joining once again for successful return to cruising. Norwegian Cruise Line promised that the repatriated crew will be prioritized for new assignments as much as possible, but with the long journey back home, ship-to-ship transfers, and other rules and regulations from their home countries these crew members will need much longer time to re-energize for their next sign-on. 

Commenting on this difficult decision, one crew member said "Norwegian Cruise Line will repatriate most of the crew members, which have been recently re-employed after the news of a possible cruise resume opening from the CDC. Unfortunately, the resume of operations will be later than expected and, hence, the Company has made the difficult decision to keep only the minimum manning onboard.

I have the luck to be part of the “essential” manning right now, and I’m really grateful to have a job in this complicated period. Yet, I know that all of us are important for the cruises to be a real and amazing experience!

I’m close to all the crew member which is living this period of economic struggle and uncertainty for the future. I’ve met so many amazing people during these years, and the experiences they let me made are the most valuable things that happen in my life.

Life here onboard is sad without all of you! Looking forward to meeting you in the crew bar again as soon as possible."