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NORWEGIAN Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has written a letter to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) requesting the conditional sailing order (CSO) be lifted for its vessels in order to carry out its plan to resume cruise operations from Independence Day.
The plan will include NCLH’s multi-layered SailSAFE Health & Safety Program, and will require all guests and crews to be vaccinated during the initial relaunch, in line with the CDC’s new guidance on international travel (CW yesterday).
With cruising starting 04 Jul, NCLH believes vaccines, combined with a phased-in launch and its own measures, provide a “uniquely safe & healthy environment”.
Operations would begin at an initial reduced capacity of 60%, which will be gradually ramped up by 20% every 30 days.
“By requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crews, the company believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s conditional sailing order to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits,” the letter said.
“Norwegian trusts and is optimistic the CDC will agree that mandatory vaccination requirements eliminate the need for the CSO and therefore requests for the lifting of the order for Norwegian’s vessels, allowing them to cruise from US ports.
“The company looks forward to its continued partnership with the CDC in recommencing operations with 100% vaccinated guests and crew aboard and reduced capacity initially as part of a phased-in launch.”
NCLH President & Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio (pictured) said the company can create a safe, “bubble-like” environment for guests and crew.
“Our robust and comprehensive SailSAFE health and safety program extends well beyond the protocols of the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, all of which have already reopened including hotels and resorts, casinos, restaurants, sporting venues, theme parks and airlines,” he said.
“With vaccine mandates and strict health and safety protocols in place, we believe we can provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience.
Del Rio added NCLH’s vessels returning to the water will not only reinstate thousands of American jobs, but also meet the significant consumer demand for cruising, and re-contribute billions of dollars to the economy.