NCLH temporarily halts crew assignments from countries with high Covid-19 prevalence

May 05, 2021

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is temporarily suspending all assignments for its crew from India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and South Africa amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in these countries. According to a letter by NCLH Vice President, Shipboard HR Operations the company has made a hard decision to suspend incoming crew movement based on reviewing crewing pools by country considering three factors: Prevalence, Number of mutations, and general availability of vaccines to seafarers in the listed countries.

“We will temporarily pause all crew joining our vessels from areas of high Covid-19 prevalence. This currently includes the following countries: South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and India. The Assignment Specialists will be working on replacing crew currently from the listed countries with other nationalities. We will review this policy frequently and advise of any changes. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances and should be managed according to the health protocols which include PCR testing and quarantine before joining a vessel.”

NCLH crew from Brazil received a separate letter informing them that the company will need to temporarily pause the crew assignments until further notice. Although Brazilians are paused from joining cruise ships, NCLH will still require that they continue to obtain all necessary documents to join so when the pause has been lifted they are ready to board. The company will be reviewing the situation frequently and will advise the crew as soon as anything changes..Unlike the previous letter, the one sent to the Brazilian crew doesn’t mention any exceptions in certain circumstances.

In April NCLH announced restart of cruise operations with new itineraries sailing in Europe and The Caribbean with Norwegian Jade, Joy and Gem. The company also announced plans for the next phase of return to cruising including the restart of its two brands Oceania Cruises with the cruise ship Marina, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises with the cruise ship Seven Seas Splendor. 

The latest cancelations of crew assignments is another setback, however considering the fact that NCL has a crew for 17 ships the company has many loyal crew members on standby from other countries. The decision to cancel crew assignments is a difficult one for the company and especially for the crew who were looking forward to returning and work after waiting for so long. We hope the current situation changes as soon as possible and all crew once again join their assigned ships.