Norwegian Cruise Line sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) today outlining its plan to resume cruise operations from U.S. ports in July that includes its multi-layered SailSAFE Health and Safety Program developed in conjunction with globally recognized experts, including the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”). The Company’s plan is consistent with the CDC’s updated guidance that international travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals and that COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of cruise ship travel.
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. 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 U.S. ports starting July 4. 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.
“We congratulate the CDC on the steps it has taken to further open travel for vaccinated Americans. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings shares the CDC’s view that vaccinations are the primary vehicle for Americans to get back to their everyday lives,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We believe that through a combination of 100% mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew and science-backed public health measures as developed by the Healthy Sail Panel, 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, we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment for guests and crew. We look forward to joining the rest of the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors in participating in this next phase of our recovery.”
While the risk of COVID-19 cannot be eliminated in its entirety, over the past eight months the cruise industry has successfully carried nearly 400,000 passengers in more than 10 major cruise markets outside the United States with only a few isolated COVID-19 cases that were effectively identified, contained, and mitigated without impacting the health or interrupting the vacations of others. This was all done prior to the availability of widespread vaccinations.
Del Rio continued, “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. With vaccine mandates and strict health and safety protocols in place, we believe we can provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience. With our vessels back in operation, we will not only reinstate thousands of American jobs and meet the significant consumer demand for cruising, but also re-contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy as the industry resumes cruise operations.”
The Company is committed to protecting the health and safety of its guests, crew and communities visited. The SailSAFE health and safety program, with new and enhanced protocols, creates multiple layers of protection against COVID-19, and will be informed by expert guidance, domestic and international governments and public health agencies. These measures, including vaccination requirements, will be continuously refined as science, technology and the knowledge of COVID-19 evolves. Details on the Company’s SailSAFE program can be found here: SailSAFE Health and Safety Program.