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Carnival and NCL announce summer cruise ship restart plans from United States


Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line to announce it will restart cruises from the U.S. this summer.

Both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines announced on Monday plans to restart cruises as early as July.

Royal Caribbean lead the restart plan charge last week, when it announced cruises from the U.S. in July and August, signifying a major milestone in the cruise industry's return to service.

Here is a look at what each of the other major cruise lines announced today.

Carnival will restart in July

Carnival confirmed it will return to service with cruises out of Galveston on two ships.

Carnival Vista will sail on July 3rd from the Port of Galveston, followed by Carnival Breeze on July 15.

These cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of a CDC-approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Carnival also has plans to restart cruises on the Carnival Horizon from PortMiami in July.  No specific date was shared, as the line is working with the State of Florida and the CDC for Carnival Horizon sailings.

Carnival also said plans to provide an update by Friday concerning protocols specific to these sailings to all booked guests.

August sailings will be announced by Carnival "over the coming days."

Norwegian will restart in August

NCL admitted its restart plans in the U.S. are contingent on obtaining a conditional sailing certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said that all its initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew.

First, NCL said it would replace Norwegian Bliss on its Alaska cruises with the Norwegian Encore instead.

In terms of new U.S. sailings, here is what NCL announced:

  • Norwegian Gem will begin sailing 7-night cruises from PortMiami on August 15
  • Norwegian Breakaway will sail to Bermuda from New York on September 26
  • Norwegian Bliss will sail from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera on October 2
  • Norwegian Escape will sail from Port Canaveral on November 13

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said the additional planned U.S. voyages build on earlier plans for 23 of the company's 28 ships across its three brands beginning in July and phasing in through early 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line abandons plans to restart cruises from Dominican Republic this summer


Norwegian Cruise Line announced it will cancel a second cruise ship that was scheduled to sail from outside the United States this summer.

NCL said scheduled cruises from the Dominican Republic on Norwegian Gem are cancelled on sailings between August 15, 2021 through October 10, 2021.

Originally, NCL was going to set sail with three ships outside of the United States:

  • Norwegian Jade from Athens, Greece
  • Norwegian Joy from Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Norwegian Gem from Punta Cana (La Romana), Dominican Republic
  • Norwegian Getaway in Rome
  • Norwegian Epic in Barcelona

Sailings on the Joy were cancelled last week, leaving just the Jade to sail from Greece.

In an email sent to guests booked on the Gem, the cruise line announced the time required to get the ship ready and the desire for Americans to cruise out of local ports drove the change.

"As you may know, we have for many months said that launching and crewing our vessels require approximately 90 days. At this time, we are doing our best to maximize our operational fleet and active crew to deliver on cruise vacations in destinations our guests value the most."

"We are so sorry your cruise has been impacted but we hope to welcome you aboard another sailing."

Joy's sailings were cancelled so that the ship could be redeployed to Alaska instead.

The new cancellations come less than a month after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) CEO Frank Del Rio told investors customers were buying up the new sailings, "The response to our international voyage resumption has been overwhelming and even sailings from our new Caribbean home ports are performing better than expected despite the extremely condensed booking window."

Royal Caribbean also recently cancelled two scheduled sailings outside of the United States: Vision of the Seas from Bermuda and Odyssey of the Seas from Israel.

Odyssey's season was cancelled due to the cruise line's inability to get its crew members vaccinated, as well as violence in the area.  Vision's cruises appear to be cancelled due to weak demand and the anticipated return of cruises from the U.S.

Both Royal Caribbean and NCL seem to see far more demand for cruises departing from the United States, than positioning ships in new homeports.

Adventure of the Seas is still scheduled to sail from the Bahamas in less than two weeks, and NCL has three ships with cruises out of Europe planned.

Norwegian Cruise Line announces 8 more cruise ships that will sail from the U.S. in 2021


More Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ships are planned to restart cruises from the U.S. this year.

In addition to the recently announced Alaska restart, NCL posted new plans for eight cruise ships to sail from the United States later this year.

Like Royal Caribbean and Carnival, NCL is starting to get its plans set as it awaits approval for a seemingly inevitable restart process.

Here are the ships and deployment plans announced by NCL:

  • Norwegian Joy will cruise from Miami beginning Oct. 19, 2021 with five to 11-day Caribbean voyages.
  • Norwegian Breakaway will cruise seven-day itineraries to Bermuda from New York beginning Oct. 24, 2021.
  • Pride of America will offer seven-day Hawaii interisland voyages from Honolulu beginning Nov. 6, 2021.
  • Norwegian Bliss will cruise from Los Angeles for seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages beginning Nov. 7, 2021.
  • Norwegian Encore will offer seven-night itineraries from Miami to the Caribbean beginning Nov. 14, 2021.
  • Beginning Nov. 20, 2021, Norwegian Escape will cruise for the first time from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Fla., offering seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean.
  • Norwegian Pearl will sail from Miami offering Panama Canal, Bahamas and Caribbean cruises beginning Dec. 23, 2021.
  • Beginning Jan. 20, 2022, Norwegian Jewel will be the first ship in the fleet to offer roundtrip Panama Canal cruises from Panama City (Colón and Fuerte Amador).

NCL also announced restart plans in Asia and Australia.

  • Norwegian Sun will sail for the first time in Asia beginning Jan. 28, 2022, offering a five-day Japan itinerary from Hong Kong, before sailing a variety of 11-day cruises from Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
  • Norwegian Spirit will cruise 12-day Australia and New Zealand voyages from Sydney, and Auckland, New Zealand beginning Feb. 9, 2022.

Earlier this week, the cruise line said its restart plan is contingent on obtaining a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unlike Royal Caribbean, NCL's restart hinders on requiring every single passenger be fully vaccinated in order to sail, and that means children may not be able to sail initially.

These rules are in place through October 31, 2021. Norwegian will update guidance on requirements for future cruises closer to the fall.

NCL says it expects to be granted approval to sail by the CDC, "in the coming days".

NCL Bliss is currently the first scheduled Norwegian ship to restart operations from the United States, which will commence from Seattle beginning August 7, 2021.

Bliss will sail to Alaska.

More NCL cancellations

With this redeployment, NCL also cancelled a number of cruises.

NCL's summer sailings from Montego Bay, Jamaica on Norwegian Joy are cancelled so the ship can instead sail from Miami on the aforementioned Caribbean cruises. 

Just like Royal Caribbean canceling Vision of the Seas from Bermuda, the move was made to focus on U.S. sailings. Crew members on the Joy will be transferred to Alaska as NCL works to take advantage of what remains of the 2021 Alaska cruise season.

Other sailings have been cancelled to make the new deployment plans work:

  • Pride of America through Oct. 30, 2021
  • Norwegian Escape through Nov. 2, 2021
  • Norwegian Jewel through Jan. 9, 2022
  • Norwegian Pearl through Dec. 7, 2021
  • Norwegian Spirit through Jan. 28, 2022
  • Norwegian Sun through Jan. 18, 2022
  • Norwegian Bliss Oct. 24, 2021 sailing 

Norwegian Cruise Line expects to get approval to sail from the CDC "in the coming days"


Norwegian Cruise Line announced it will sail to Alaska this summer, and even went as far as saying  it expects to get approval very soon.

Following up on Carnival and Royal Caribbean's similar announcements, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) announced on Monday it would deploy Norwegian Bliss to Seattle and offer cruises to Alaska beginning August 7, 2021.

NCL's restart plan are contingent on obtaining a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NCL says it expects to be granted that approval, "in the coming days".

Cruises to Alaska on the Bliss will require all guests and crew required to be fully vaccinated, along with the implementation of the Company’s robust, multi-layered SailSAFE health and safety program.

The cruise line's abilities to sail to Alaska is a result of Congress passing the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, which provides a temporary exemption to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) restrictions for cruise ships transporting passengers between the State of Washington and the State of Alaska.

NCLH says it expects to phase-in more cruise ships across its three brands.

NCLH President and CEO Frank Del Rio was excited to share todays news, "We are thrilled to reach the next milestone in our Great Cruise Comeback with the expected resumption of cruising in the U.S. starting in Alaska, one of our guests’ most popular destinations."

"This is a moment we have all been waiting for and it would not have been possible without the strong support of the Alaska congressional delegation who worked tirelessly to pass legislation that temporarily waives certain requirements of the Passenger Vessel Services Act."

NCL's announcement comes just days after Royal Caribbean revealed it has also applied to the CDC for permission to start test cruises.

On Friday, Royal Caribbean submitted a plan to the CDC for approval to begin test cruises.

It is not clear which ship was included in that proposal to the CDC, but Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said it was the "first of several" applications they plan to send to the CDC.

What is NCL's SailSAFE?

Norwegian Cruise Line has internalized the recommendations of the Healthy Sail Panel into what it calls SailSAFE.

These are the multi-layered science-leaning approach to operating cruises safely in the face of Covid-19.

Here are the basics of what it entails:

  • All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least 2 weeks prior to embarkation, in order to board.
  • All guests will be required to take a COVID-19 antigen test, administered and paid for by the cruise line, prior to boarding and receive a negative result.
  • Staggered embarkation process
  • Limited guest capacity on ships
  • Contactless food and beverage service will be provided across all ships with service staff stationed ship-wide, including all restaurants and lounges, and shared use items will be removed where possible.
  • Guests are free to explore ports of call on their own, according to protocols in each specific port, and can purchase shore excursions as they wish.

Masks are not mentioned in their protocols, other than in certain settings during shore excursions where they would be needed in order to comply with local requirements.

Florida Governor dismisses Norwegian Cruise Line threat to pull cruise ships from Florida


A week after Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) said it might have to pull its ships from Florida if due to the state’s new law against vaccine mandates, Florida's Governor did not seem phased.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Ormond Beach, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) did not seem concerned with the potential for NCL to move its ships away from the state.

NCL wants to restart cruises with 100% of its passengers and crew members fully vaccinated, but a new state law prohibits any company from asking for proof of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said last week that its three brands of ships would move their Florida-based vessels to home ports in other states or even to non-U.S. ports in the Caribbean if they were forced to comply with the new rule.

"At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellors and rudders, and God forbid we can operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from."

"We can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would've gone to Florida. We certainly hope that doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to operate out of Florida, it's a very lucrative market, it's close drive market."

When reporters asked Governor DeSantis about Del Rio's comment, DeSantis was not concerned with NCL's actions, and even called NCL "not one of the bigger" cruise lines. NCL is the third-largest cruise line in the world by passengers.

"The major cruise lines, Norwegian's not one of the bigger ones, by the way. Cruise lines have been operating in other parts of the world where there's no access to vaccine, much less the passengers required. And in areas where covid is more prevalent than it is in the United States right now."

"Royal Caribbean, Carnival, they want to go, they're going to be able to do it."

"I can tell you this, if one of the smaller ones says they somehow don't want that niche will get filled in Florida."

Governor DeSantis also talked about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handling of the cruise industry during the global health crisis, and how he feels the federal agency has overreached with its policies.

Senate Bill (SB) 2006 specifies the new law prohibits "a business entity from requiring patrons or customers to provide documentation certifying vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19."

"We are challenging the CDC's authority to do what they're doing. They mothballed the industry for over a year. That was never the intent of anything Congress has ever enacted. That was them exceeding their authority."

He specifically called out same CDC cruise ship policies that even Norwegian Cruise Line had issues with, "if you're sunbathing, you have to make sure they're wearing a mask while they're sunbathing. Are you kidding me? That is an absolute farce."

Read moreA look at the CDC's "preposterous" requirements for cruise ships test sailings

In terms of the new law that prohibits a company from asking for proof of a vaccine, Governor DeSantis said he wants cruise lines to be able to operate as they see fit up until a point, "What we want is the cruise lines to be open. And we want them to be able to make decisions about how they're going to how they're going to handle a lot of this stuff. That obviously is within the context of a Florida policy that respects the medical privacy of all Floridians."

"I'll hear is most people don't like the idea that if they show up at a ballgame, they got to whip out vaccination records or some things like that. But some say, well, maybe on a cruise, maybe we could do that a little different. Trust me, it will not stop at that. The minute that they start doing this, they're going to continue to do it. It will expand."

Governor DeSantis also touched upon the injunction the state is seeking against the CDC to allow ships to sail immediately, and he seemed optimistic about the legal challenge, "We had a great hearing. I think, by and large, the reports I heard in federal court yesterday."

"We think we got our points across. We think the judge was receptive."

Norwegian Cruise Line warns it could move cruise ships from Florida due to vaccine passport ban


Will Florida's new law that prevents a company from asking for proof of a Covid-19 vaccine create a problem for cruise lines trying to restart cruises?

While Florida's Governor does not think there is an issue with the new law, at least one cruise line has said it is indeed an issue.

During the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) earnings call with investors, CEO Frank Del Rio described the new law as "an issue".

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed a new law that prohibits businesses from being able to ask for proof of a vaccine from their customers.

Senate Bill (SB) 2006 specifies the new law prohibits "a business entity from requiring patrons or customers to provide documentation certifying vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19."

Mr. Del Rio believes this may come down a legal issue between state and federal jurisdiction, but he also said there is a possibility their cruise ships would have to sail from another state.

"At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellors and rudders, and God forbid we can operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from."

"We can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would've gone to Florida. We certainly hope that doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to operate out of Florida, it's a very lucrative market, it's close drive market."

Mr. Del Rio indicated NCLH is having discussions with the Governor's office, but thinks this is "a classic state versus Federal Government issue".

Governor DeSantis doesn't think cruise ships need to ask passengers for proof of a vaccine, because of how well cruise operations are doing overseas.

On Tuesday, Governor DeSantis dismissed the notion cruise ships need the ability to require a vaccine, "These cruise ships are sailing in other parts of the world where they don't even have vaccines available and they're doing it safely and people are having a good time on it. So so they can do it."

It was not clear if he was talking in general terms, or in reference to the federal guidelines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented its instructions for cruise lines this week on how to apply for test sailings and restart cruises, which include a few possibilities of requiring a Covid-19 vaccine to sail.

The CDC will allow cruise lines to skip a test sailing if they can ensure 95% of the passengers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Even if cruise ships engage in test sailings, volunteer cruisers onboard these simulated voyages need to be vaccinated as well.

Norwegian Cruise Line has already committed itself to requiring 100% of its passengers and crew members to be vaccinated, and submitted a plan to the CDC about a month ago.

Thus far, NCLH has not heard back from the CDC.

"We want clearance for 100%," said Del Rio after being asked about Florida's law. "And as of today, which is a little over a month since we submitted our proposal to the CDC, we've not yet heard back from them. And that is very disappointing."

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO says July cruises from U.S. "not possible"


The chances of cruises from the U.S. this July seem unlikely, given recent comments from Norwegian Cruise Line.

Speaking at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. quarterly earnings call, CEO Frank Del Rio told Wall Street analysts a July restart in the United States is "just not possible".

"The July U.S. launch, at least for our company, is just not possible,” Del Rio confessed.

"It was possible back in early April when we proposed to the CDC 100 percent vaccination, so from April 5, 90 days would be early July so that was possible."

"But today we're in early May, and we're looking past that."

While he did not say exactly which dates would be practical, he did indicate they need about 90 days to get a ship ready to restart.

"Our team is working through the new guidance, but at first glance, however, it appears the path forward is a bit rockier and a bit steeper than originally expected."

Royal Caribbean has not commented on the fate of July cruises from the United States.

Mr. Del Rio also said he was disappointed in the new CDC rules for test sailings in the United States “at first read” and found them onerous and in part “preposterous."

"I'm disappointed, at first read. I'm going to give the CDC the opportunity to explain and clarify, and we have a call with them this afternoon."

The new guidelines from the CDC were released on Wednesday and include requirements such as mask wearing, vaccines for volunteers, social distancing, and more.

According to Del Rio, Norwegian plans to start off with a 100% vaccination mandate for cruise ship passengers.

In response to a question about how the CDC has treated the cruise industry, Mr. Del Rio responded, "We're perplexed. We're flabbergasted. We're outraged."

"We're willing to vaccinate every single person onboard a cruise ship. There isn't another venue on earth -- not a school, a factory, your office -- that can make that claim."

Norwegian Cruise Line will not limit passengers to cruise line shore excursions


Norwegian Cruise Line has quietly updated its cruise protocols for restart, which includes now allowing passengers to go on third party shore excursions.


Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has a listing of health and safety protocols on its website, known as Sail Safe, in which it has a changed the tour policy.

Based on comparing the website today versus an archived copy, NCL is now allowing passengers to book any shore excursion the wish, instead of limiting them to cruise line only tours.

Guests are free to explore ports of call on their own, according to protocols in each specific port, and can purchase shore excursions as they wish.

This is an important shift in policy considering most lines up until now have required guests to only book shore excursions through the cruise line in order to retain a "bubble" approach to cruising.

New policy on NCL website

Old policy from NCL website from April 6, 2021

NCL's change may also reflect the line's proposed restart plan for every single crew member and passenger to be fully vaccinated, exceeding even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated guideline.

NCL's change is also noteworthy since the cruise line is part of the Healthy Sail Panel, which it founded in conjunction with the Royal Caribbean Group.  Both cruise lines rely on the Healthy Sail Panel to formulate its policies onboard.

On their website, NCL states their policies are guided by the Healthy Sail Panel, "We have developed a comprehensive and multi-layered set of health and safety protocols that span the entire cruise journey, guided by the expert advice from our Healthy Sail Panel. We will continuously refine and improve these protocols as science, technology and our knowledge of the virus improve and will provide guests with all relevant information or any changes to protocols prior to setting sail."

Thus far, the Healthy Sail Panel has only published its set of recommendations from September 2020, although it is understood the panel has been working behind the scenes with the cruise lines.

Among the 74 recommendations, recommendation 59 recommends cruise lines limit guests to cruise line tours.

Recommendation 59: During the initial return to sailing, cruise operators should only allow guests debarking from a ship at a destination port to participate in cruise line-sponsored or verified excursions as a way of limiting potential exposures in the destinations they visit.

It is worth noting these recommendations were written before vaccines became widespread, and classified it as a temporary recommendation, which could be modified or removed later when health conditions permit.

In March, Royal Caribbean's vice president EMEA, Ben Bouldin, said the impact the vaccine has had prompted the cruise line to ask the Healthy Sail Panel to go over their recommendations.

"We have asked the Healthy Sail Panel to go back and revisit their findings in light of the improvements and the encouraging news vaccines provide."

The origin of limiting shore excursion options goes back to the first cruise ships to restart sailings.

In an effort to create a travel bubble, MSC Cruises restarted sailings in August 2020 with the rule in place. They even refused to let a family back onboard that broke the rule.

What about Royal Caribbean cruises this summer?

Royal Caribbean has not formally announced its protocols and rules for sailings restarting this summer, but thus far there have been strong indications guests can expect to be limited to cruise line excursions.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, said in March 2021 guests will be limited to Royal Caribbean excursions in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island.

"With our own little bubble, we can really make sure the health and safety protocols are being followed."

Royal Caribbean's own Shore Excursions Health Acknowledgement confirms that only cruise line tours will be permitted, "guests are currently only permitted to book and participate in Shore Excursions which are selected and approved by Royal Caribbean Group."

Guests booked on Odyssey of the Seas sailings from Israel received a list of terms and conditions for their sailings which also allude to the limitation of shore excursion options you can book.

Of course, all of this could change at any time, much like NCL has done.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean has promised additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Royal Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

NCL follows Royal Caribbean's lead and announces cruises outside U.S.


Another major cruise line has announced plans to restart cruises outside the U.S. in order to get sailing again this summer.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced on Tuesday three cruise ships will sail from various ports in the Caribbean and Europe.

Royal Caribbean made headlines last month when it announced ships would sail from places like Bermuda, the Bahamas and Cyprus, and now NCL has joined the trend.

The three ships sailing are:

  • Norwegian Jade from Athens, Greece offering 7-night Greek Isles cruises beginning July 25, 2021
  • Norwegian Joy from Montego Bay, Jamaica offering 7-night cruises beginning August 15, 2021
  • Norwegian Gem from Punta Cana (La Romana), Dominican Republic beginning August 15, 2021

These plans are in addition to NCL's proposal to the CDC to be able to restart sailings from the U.S., provided that plan gets approved.

While Norwegian will also require the Covid-19 vaccine for anyone sailing onboard these ships, it is making no exception for children under the age of 18. Royal Caribbean is allowing kids, but will require a negative test for them.

The requirement to be fully vaccinated runs through October 31, 2021.

The sailings will operate with a "robust health and safety program", which includes mandatory vaccinations for all guests and crew and universal COVID-19 testing.

Passengers sailing will need to take an antigen test prior to boarding, and other policies will be fully fleshed out closer to sail date.

NCL will require guests go on only ship sponsored shore excursions through September 1. 

NCL plans to sail its vessels at 60% capacity, and then add 20% additional capacity every 30 days.

More cancellations

In addition to these new sailings, Norwegian also announced more cruise cancellations.

NCL cancelled all July and August itineraries aboard Norwegian Breakaway, Dawn, Escape, Getaway, Sky, Spirit, Star and Sun. 

Sailings for the Norwegian Epic through September 1, 2021 are also cancelled; and Norwegian Pearl through Nov. 7, 2021 have also been canceled. Guests and Travel Partners with impacted reservations will be contacted directly.

NCL also extended its Peace of Mind Cancellation policy to cruises booked by April 30 with embarkation dates through October 31.

NCL submits plan to CDC how it can restart cruises by July


Norwegian Cruise Line is thinking positive and has a plan cruise fans would love to see happen.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) announced on Monday it has sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that outlines a plan to be able to restart cruises beginning July 4th.

The new plan calls for 100% vaccination of guests and crew onboard, as well as strict health and safety protocols for all sailing sailing through October 31, 2021.

The company would then "follow the science" to determine if vaccines would still be required for future sailings beyond October.

NCLH represents three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The multi-layered SailSAFE Health and Safety Program was developed with the Healthy Sail Panel, a joint cooperative effort with Royal Caribbean Group.

In a statement, NCLH said it believes this is an effective and safe plan to restart operations, "Norwegian trusts and is optimistic the CDC will agree that mandatory vaccination requirements eliminate the need for the [Conditional Sailing Order] and therefore requests for the lifting of the order for Norwegian's vessels, allowing them to cruise from U.S. ports starting July 4."

The plan was sent to the CDC and its Director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, which calls for the CDC to lift the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for all NCLH ships departing from U.S. ports effective July 4, 2021.

Vaccines required

At the heart of this plan is requiring the vaccine for guests and crew members.

If approved, 100% vaccinated guests and crew and reduced capacity initially will be part of a phased-in launch.

Read moreEverything we know about if Royal Caribbean will require a vaccine

"By requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crew, the Company believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits."

The plan has five major components:

  1. 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;

  2. 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;

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. These stringent requirements will remain in place until public health conditions allow for the implementation of more lenient protocols.

"We believe that a cruise ship with a fully vaccinated population when combined with the virus protection defenses provided by the HSP protocols is one of the safest vacation options available."