The Norwegian Cruise Line will become the first cruise company to resume sailing at limited capacity, returning new itineraries across Europe and the Caribbean this summer.
“We have been working diligently towards our resumption of operations, focusing on the guest experience with health and safety at the forefront,” Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and CEO Harry Sommer said. “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.”
Voyages from ports in the United States will begin again at 60% capacity starting in July and will be raised to 80% in August. By September, the company plans to allow 100% capacity on its ships.
Despite the announcement, the cruise line will still need the green light from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has blocked cruise ships for over a year since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.
The cruise line may also have issues sailing because of local policies in places like Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order barring businesses from requiring customers to provide vaccination documents.
The Washington Examiner contacted DeSantis’s office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
While the cruise line plans to have health and safety precautions in place, some details are still being worked out. In addition to guest and crew vaccinations and testing, ships will have medical-grade air filtration and increased sanitation and medical resources, and the cruise line plans to collaborate with land-based tour operator partners to extend precautions to each passenger destination.
Last week, the CDC updated its public health guidelines to say travel is safe for those who are fully vaccinated and that people who have received the full dosage of COVID-19 shots can travel domestically without getting tested or going into quarantine upon arrival to their destination.
Still, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advised against general travel during this time, as COVID-19 cases remain on the rise.
The U.S. has surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases and has had more than 555,000 deaths attributed to the virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Roughly 30% of people in the U.S. have had at least one dose of a vaccine, and almost 17% have been fully vaccinated. More than half of people 65 or older have been fully vaccinated.
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