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Norwegian Cruise Line

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."

Norwegian cancels June 2021 cruises


One of the big three cruise lines just announced it will not be restarting cruises until at least July.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced on Tuesday morning it has canceled its June 2021 cruises across its three brands: Norwegian, Regent and Oceania.

The cancellations extend through June 30. 

Prior to today's announcement, NCL had cruises canceled through May.

The pattern thus far during the cruise industry shutdown has been when one of the major three cruise lines, NCL, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean, cancels cruises, the other two follow eventually.

The company said it it continues to work through its return-to-service plan to meet the requirements of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Guests who are currently booked on canceled voyages on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are asked to contact their travel advisor or the cruise line for more information.

NCL had pulled all of its June cruises from being bookable on its website earlier this week, which has been another tell-tale sign of impending cancellations.

Royal Caribbean had only just cancelled its May cruises one week ago, and there has been no announcement yet by Royal Caribbean if June will also go.

We know that Quantum of the Seas cruises from Singapore and Odyssey of the Seas sailings from Israel will be able to sail in June, with perhaps a chance of cruises from China being able to sail.

The big question is not if there will be any Royal Caribbean cancellations in June, rather, if there will be an opportunity for one or two other ships to move towards a restart.

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels May 2021 cruises


Norwegian Cruise Line has thrown in the towel on May 2021 cruises, which may point in the direction other cruise lines will follow.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) announced on Tuesday they continued their suspension of cruises through May 31, 2021.

In a statement, NCLH said it will continue to work with government and public health authorities to take all measures necessary to protect its customers, crew and communities visited.

Prior to today's announcement, cruises had been cancelled through April 30, 2021.

Guests who are currently booked on cancelled voyages on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are asked to contact their travel advisor or the cruise line for more information.

Throughout the entire cruise industry shutdown, the major cruise lines have mirrored each other's cancellation announcements and that means Carnival and Royal Caribbean may soon follow.

Moreover, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian work together on the Healthy Sail Panel group of experts.

Will Royal Caribbean also cancel their cruises?

The short answer is no one knows yet.

Royal Caribbean currently has cruises cancelled through April 30, 2021 (excluding sailings onboard Quantum of the Seas in Singapore and Spectrum of the Seas in China).

It is important for Royal Caribbean cruisers to take notice of these cancellations as a possible sign of what may come for Royal Caribbean.

There also is not distinct pattern when Royal Caribbean may make a similar announcement or not. The only pattern thus far is when one of the "big three" cruise lines cancels more cruises, it seeems it is just a matter of time before the other two dominos fall.

4 interesting facts from Norwegian Cruise Line's second quarters earnings


With Royal Caribbean's second quarter earnings report just days away, taking a look at competitor cruise line Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) quarterly earnings report from today may shed some light into what we could see next week.

NCLH posted an adjusted net loss for the quarter of $666.4 million in its second quarter, which includes the brands Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas.

While Royal Caribbean Group and NCLH are run differently, they have a lot of similarities and a lot of the same concerns among investors and cruise fans alike.

Millions in revenue instead of billions

It may be safe to assume nearly everyone knew this would be a bad quarter for any cruise line, but the question was how bad would it be.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reported revenue for the second quarter of $16.9 million. That's revenue, not earnings. Revenue for the same quarter last year was $1.7 billion

That's a 99 percent plummet in revenue.  The net income reported was a loss of $715.2 million, compared to $240.2 million in the year prior. Earnings per share went from $1.11 to a loss of $2.99 year on year.

No plans to sell any ships

One trend that has emerged recently are cruise lines beginning to sell ships in order to drum up any kind of cash flow, but it looks like Norwegian has no plans for that yet.

Carnival has divested a number of ships across its brands and Royal Caribbean subsidiary Pullmantur recently had to get rid of Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) President and CEO Frank Del Rio said they have no plans to sell ships.

We absolutely have no plans to divest of any of our vessels,” Mr. Del Rio said during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

"We love our capacity. We're the smallest of the big three cruise brands, we're always wanting more. We not only have the youngest fleet, but we have nine incredible vessels on order."

Surprised by demand for 2021 cruises

Something Royal Caribbean noted in their Q1 2020 earnings call is happening with NCLH as well: its loyal customers are not going anywhere.

Despite the nearly year-long shutdown and plenty of fear among consumers, people are still booking a lot of cruises for 2021.

"If you had told me that we were going to be facing these set of circumstances, and your question is, ‘Frank, would you be taking any bookings?’ I would have laughed at you. I’ll say, ‘Of course, not, who would book? It’s crazy,'" Mr. Del Rio said in response to a question on the company’s second quarter earnings call on Thursday.

"But people are booking. People are confident that we’re going to come back. People do want to cruise. They miss it. It’s a heck of a vacation experience, a heck of a vacation value. And so this is temporary. The question is how temporary is temporary."

Restart plans

Just like cruise fans, Wall Street wants to know when cruises might restart and Mr. Del Rio noted the next few months will be critical in determining that.

He talked about Norwegian's joint-effort with Royal Caribbean Group to develop the Healthy Sail Panel, which will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August.

Mr. Del Rio felt good about the cruise line's ability to return, but timing is not so easy to answer.

"People are confident we're going to be coming back. They miss it cruising. This is temporary. The question is, how temporary is temporary?"

Between the CDC extending its No Sail order through the end of September to cruise lines in Europe encountering COVID cases onboard, the industry is not certain when a restart could realistically occur.