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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Announces Two-Pronged Plan for Long-Awaited Return to Cruising Within and Outside the U.S.

April 20, 2021 Cruise News No Comments

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (the “Company”) (NYSE: NCLH), a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announces a two-pronged plan for its long-awaited return to cruising this summer. The Company unveils its phased cruise resumption for voyages embarking outside of the U.S. with sailings originating in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Greece beginning in July 2021 with Norwegian Joy, Jade and Gem. In parallel, the Company submitted a proposal to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on April 5, 2021, outlining its plan to restart cruising from U.S. ports starting July 4 and requesting the CDC lift the Conditional Sail Order. To provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience, all initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew in addition to the Company’s robust, multi-layered SailSAFE™ health and safety program, which includes universal COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation. The Company also announces the formation of the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council (“the Council”), the Company’s expert public health council, chaired by former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) Dr. Scott Gottlieb, which will complement the work of the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”).

“We are excited to unveil our initial plans for the resumption of cruise voyages embarking outside of the U.S. with sailings to the Caribbean and Europe. In addition, we continue to plan for a resumption of cruising from U.S. ports and await further discussion with the CDC regarding our proposal for a July 4 restart to participate in America’s national opening. As we prepare for our return to cruising, the health and safety of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our first priority, as demonstrated by the establishment of our robust, multi-layered SailSAFE health and safety program and our Company’s SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Safe and highly effective vaccines are a gamechanger and to create the safest environment possible, we will require all guests and crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine requirements will be combined with multiple additional layers of protection against COVID-19 introduction, including universal testing, and we will continue to evaluate and modify protocols over time as the science dictates.”

Del Rio continued, “The return to cruising has been much-anticipated by our loyal guests, valued travel partners, the destinations we visit and our team members across the globe. We look forward to once again delivering best in class vacation experiences and also restarting our cruise ecosystem, bringing much needed economic benefit back to our homeports and the destinations we visit that have been significantly impacted by the halt in cruising.”

Resumption of Voyages Embarking Outside of U.S.

As part of the phased return to cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line will initially offer seven-day cruises to the Greek Isles on Norwegian Jade from Athens (Piraeus), Greece beginning July 25, 2021, and seven-day Caribbean itineraries originating in Montego Bay, Jamaica beginning on August 7, 2021 on Norwegian Joy and from La Romana, Dominican Republic on Norwegian Gem beginning August 15, 2021. Certain sailings outside of these newly announced voyages have been cancelled. Impacted guests on voyages that will not operate will be notified accordingly. As Norwegian Cruise Line makes its final preparations to welcome guests on board, guests have the opportunity to follow along with its new docuseries, EMBARK – The Series, premiering April 15 at www.ncl.com/embark and Facebook.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises will announce details on their voyage resumption plans at a future date. All voyages on these brands with embarkation dates through July 31, 2021 have been cancelled. Impacted guests on voyages that will not operate will be notified accordingly.

The Company continues to expect a phased-in approach to reintroducing additional vessels across its three brands while taking into account the public health environment, global travel restrictions and port availability, among other considerations.

SailSAFE Health and Safety Program

The Company is committed to protecting the health and safety of its guests, crew and communities visited and has developed SailSAFE, a robust, multi-layered and science-backed health and safety program in response to COVID-19. The SailSAFE health and safety program will be informed by expert guidance from the HSP and the Council, domestic and international governments and public health agencies. The Company believes that mandatory vaccinations for all guests and crew, combined with universal testing and other preventative measures developed in conjunction with the HSP, will provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation environment that it believes exceeds all other vacation choices on land and at sea. These measures, including vaccination requirements, will be continuously refined as science, technology and the knowledge of COVID-19 evolves. In addition, guests must comply with all travel requirements of the countries where voyages originate and visit. These requirements may include receiving a negative polymerase chain reaction test (“PCR”) result prior to arriving in the country where the cruise originates, testing upon arrival into the country and the completion of appropriate travel entry forms.

The Company further extended its depth and breadth of experts with the formation of its SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council, comprised of six experts at the forefront of their fields and led by Chairman Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the FDA and Co-Chair of the Healthy Sail Panel. The Council’s work will complement the HSP initiative and will focus on the implementation, compliance with and continuous improvement of health and safety protocols across the Company’s operations. The Council was assembled in mid-2020 and has been advising the Company on the development of its SailSAFE program. Subject matter experts joining Dr. Scott Gottlieb are:

  • Dr. Steven Ostroff, MD, former acting commissioner of the FDA and former Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the CDC.
  • Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky, MD, Professor Emerita in Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Emory University, Co-Founder of the International Society of Travel Medicine.
  • Caitlin Rivers PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Kate Walsh, PhD, Dean of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
  • John Mason, CEO and Chairman of The Sabre Companies with extensive experience in developing sanitation and disinfection technology to minimize microbial contamination risk to both human and non-human health.

For more information including full biographies of the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council please visit: SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council

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