NCL Announces Return to Cruising with Three Ships

Apr 06, 2021

Today Norwegian Cruise Line announced the long-awaited return to service with three ships set to sail in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. NCL’s highly anticipated return to cruising will start with the Norwegian Jade sailing from Athens (Piraeus), Greece beginning July 25, 2021, sailing 7-day cruises to the Greek Isles. The Norwegian Joy will restart cruise operations from Montego Bay, Jamaica starting Aug. 7, 2021, and Norwegian Gem from Punta Cana (La Romana), Dominican Republic on Aug. 15, 2021.

"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," said Norwegian Cruise Line's President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer. "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 has been working closely with destination partners and other authorities to help provide not only a safe vacation but an exceptional experience for guests.

"Resuming operations is a comprehensive endeavor, involving many parties around the globe. We are very proud of our collaborations and look forward to deeper partnerships as we forge into the future." Mr. Sommer said.

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. 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 Nov. 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." 

While the Cruise Line already had robust health and safety protocols in place, it has spent the past year further developing and refining those protocols, using the latest scientific findings and expert advice. Yesterday, its parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings launched its SailSAFE Health and Safety program, which is founded on three pillars: 1) Safety for guests and crew with vaccination requirements, universal COVID-19 testing and enhanced health screening protocols; 2) Safety aboard with medical-grade air filtration, increased sanitation measures and enhanced medical resources; and 3) Safety ashore through the collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination.  As protocols evolve and additional information becomes available, updates will be published at    

In welcoming the announcement Jamaica's Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said, "I am very pleased that Norwegian Cruise Line has selected Jamaica as one of the first destinations in the world that it will visit when it resumes service. We look forward to welcoming the Cruise Line back to our shores, and I am confident that this important partnership will aid in our effort to rebuild our tourism sector and boost our economy overall. Jamaica is ready for the return of cruise tourism and we have robust protocols in place to ensure a safe, seamless and secure experience." 

In response to the NCL’s announcement that it would sail to Punta Cana for the first time in its history, President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic expressed his appreciation by saying, "From the very first day, we've been committed to taking all of the necessary actions to support the recovery of our tourism sector.  The Cruise Line's presence this summer reaffirms our commitment to providing a safe destination for travelers. We thank NCL for putting its trust in our country."

The Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis said, ''We warmly welcome the announcement of Norwegian Cruise Line restarting its cruises from Greece. The diversity and rich color of all our destinations together with our long history, unique culture, and famous gastronomy will ensure a remarkable experience for all guests. In 2020, we safely opened tourism and we are working to continue to do the same this year, so travelers go home with memories that they are proud to share and that last a lifetime."

In conjunction with its return to service announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced cancelattion of all July and August itineraries aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Dawn, Escape, Getaway, Sky, Spirit, Star and Sun. In addition, voyages aboard Norwegian Epic through Sept. 1, 2021; and Norwegian Pearl through Nov. 7, 2021 have also been canceled.