TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Norwegian Cruise Line’s president sent a letter to the CDC outlining plans to begin sailings in July from the United States without running mock cruises.
The cruise line says it will require all guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is a major shift from the CDC’s latest orders that were released on Friday.
"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 company said in a press release.
By requiring 100 percent vaccinations NCL said the CSO should be lifted, which would allow them to resume sailings without conducting test cruises and without submitting plans to the CDC 60 days in advance.
The CDC issued its latest guidance for cruise ships last Friday, calling upon companies to "establish agreements at ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of crew, and develop plans incorporating vaccination strategies to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of COVID-19 by crew and passengers."
NCL outlined its plan to return to cruising saying it will:
- Require all passengers and crew embarking/disembarking from a U.S. port be vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than two weeks prior to their departure date.
- Incorporate and operationalize the protocols developed by the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”). 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
- On or about July 4, 2021, NCLH vessels will begin cruise operations at an initial reduced capacity of 60 percent, gradually ramping up our fleet departing from U.S. ports and increasing capacity by 20 percent every 30 days.
- These stringent requirements will remain in place until public health conditions allow for the implementation of more lenient protocols
Norwegian Cruise Line also CC'd the letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who has called on the CDC to rescind the no-sail order.