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.
”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," said Frank Del Rio, president, and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in a statement. "We look forward to joining the rest of the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors in participating in this next phase of our recovery.”
The company said they plan to start cruises in the U.S. at 60% capacity, raise it to 80% capacity in August, and then 100% in September.NCL outlined its plan to return to cruising:
- NCLH will require that all guests embarking/disembarking at U.S. port provide proof of having been fully vaccinated no less than two weeks before their departure date
- All crew members will be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before commencement of their duties onboard their assigned vessel;
- 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.
The announcement comes on the heels of CDC’s latest orders released on Friday on how cruises can return to the waters.