Cruise News Update: April 2 2022
Another cruise news update across the major cruise lines, and it’s been eventful for Norwegian Cruise Line with some issues and ships making a comeback.
Heres your weekly cruise news update covering all the major cruise lines, and it has been an eventful week for Norwegian Cruise Line with multiple ships. Theres a cruise cancellation, a mechanical issue, and some good news with two NCL ships making a comeback.
Does Norwegian Require Vaccinations To Cruise
Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccinations
Norwegian requires that all guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least 2 weeks prior to departure in order to board. Guest vaccination requirements are currently applicable to all sailings.
Minors who have not yet been eligible to be vaccinated will not be permitted to sail. Minors who meet the eligibility requirements set by FDA/WHO and/or EMA and who have been fully vaccinated are welcome to sail.
All passengers are required to sign and accept the terms and conditions listed on their ticket contract. In addition, you will be required to agree to abide by all of the cruise lines health and safety protocols.
Youll also have to acknowledge the risks associated with COVID-19 during your cruise and shoreside experiences. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions, you will not be permitted to board.
Review Of Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line was founded in 1966 by two shipping magnates – Knut Kloster and Ted Arison .
Passenger shipping operations started with one vessel operating on short and cheap Caribbean roundtrips from the USA. When Ted Arison left NCL in 1972 , Knut Kloster acquired more ships for NCL’s Caribbean operations.
NCL’s CEO is Harry Sommer . NCLH corporation’s current President and CEO is Frank Del Rio. NCLH’s SVP, Port Development & Construction Management team is led by Juan Kuryla, who in 2014-2021 served as PortMiami’s Director and CEO.
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Private Cruise Island Enhancements
NCL Norwegian expanded the company’s plans for its Bahamian privately-owned island Great Stirrup Cay and the exclusive luxury resort destination Harvest Caye . Harvest Caye port features a large-sized swimming pool, private beach, shallow lagoon , private cabanas available for rent, as well as a huge flora and fauna diversity.
Great Stirrup Cay was last enhanced in 2014 and by 2017 spring features several new offerings and amenities .
What To Watch For
Whether other major cruise lines will follow suit with cancellations of their own. Carnival Corp. spokesperson Roger Frizzell told the Associated Press last week the cruise line does not intend to make changes to its sailings in light of omicron, though Royal Caribbean Group said in a statement December 30 omicron had led to 16 destination calls on its cruises being canceled or significantly modified . The cruise line expects these disruptions to continue in the near term and then decline as the world adjusts to the current trends, Royal Caribbean said.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels All Asia Sailings From October 2022 To April 2023
The cruise line, Norwegian Sun, cancelled all its sailings to Asian destinations from 11 October 2022 to 25 April 2023, a news report said earlier this week.
This cancellation includes departures from homeports being Tokyo, Japan Singapore Hong Kong and Laem Chabang, Thailand.
The ship will instead be repositioned to Europe for that period and will offer round trip sailings to the Canary Islands.
In a letter sent to booked guests and travel partners the cruise line announced the cancellation and it stated that: Given challenging and inconsistent local travel restrictions related to the public health environment in Asia, we have made the decision to reposition Norwegian Sun from Asia to Europe.
We understand the desire to travel now more than ever, so we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, the email concluded.
Ncl Cruise Ship Weddings
Since 2016, NCL offers weddings at sea, including same-gender ceremonies. The weddings are performed by the ship’s Captain.
- For now, these offers are only for the company’s newest vessels of the Breakaway- and Breakaway-plus classes.
- Formerly, couples were not allowed to marry at sea, but only ashore . They also had to produce a marriage certificate before participating in an onboard ceremony. By the NCL’s new policy, cruise ship captains can perform the wedding ceremonies on the ship, with a Bahamas-issued marriage license.
- NCL also offers absolutely legal same-gender ceremonies. However, these offers are only available in port destinations where such marriages are recognized by local law. The list of such destinations in the USA includes Hawaii, Boston MA, NYC New York, Los Angeles CA, Seattle WA, Florida , also Vancouver BC .
- NCL’s new package “Wedding at Sea” includes a bridal bouquet, 1 matching boutonniere, 1 wedding cake for 2, champagne toast. The company also provides an experienced wedding coordinator.
- In addition to the “Wedding at Sea” program, NCL also offers harborside ceremonies , also destination weddings and vow renewals.
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Another Cruise Canceled For Norwegian Escape
A fourth cruise for Norwegian Escape has been canceled due to the need for repairs after the ship ran aground in Puerto Plata on March 14, 2022. In a letter emailed to booked guests and travel partners, the cruise line has informed those impacted that the planned April 2 sailing will no longer take place.
The letter is virtually identical to the information provided when the March 26 Norwegian Escape sailing was canceled, and guests are being offered similar compensation options to make up for their missed cruise. NCL said that repairs to the vessel were taken longer than expected.
The April 2 sailing was to have been a 7-day itinerary visiting Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Great Stirrup Cay the same itinerary the ship was sailing when the incident occurred. After the ship ran aground that sailing was canceled and guests were flown home, and the ship has been undergoing repairs since.
In the meantime, Norwegian Escape remains at Port Canaveral where the ship is undergoing repairs. The nature of the repairs has not been disclosed, nor has any explanation been given for why the work is taking extra time.
Norwegian Dawn Mechanical Issue
According to an announcement made onboard and a letter delivered to guests on March 31, Norwegian Dawn is experiencing a mechanical issue and missed its planned visit to Costa Maya on April 1, 2022.
Instead, the ship remained overnight in Roatan, Honduras, where it had visited on March 31, and is now making its way directly back to Tampa.
Norwegian Dawn is currently sailing a 7-night Caribbean itinerary which departed Tampa on Sunday, March 27. The ship has already visited Cozumel, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Lines private island in Belize, as well as the now overnight port of call in Roatan.
The letter goes on to explain that guests who booked shore tours through Norwegian Cruise Line will have those costs automatically refunded to their shipboard accounts.
The nature of Norwegian Dawns mechanical issue was not disclosed, and it could be several possibilities. No announcement has been made about whether there will be any itinerary changes or other alterations to the ships next sailing, an identical 7-day sailing to the current voyage.
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Itinerary Of Norwegian Cruise Line
All NCL cruise ships are either new or recently refurbished. As you can see from their list below, the oldest one is just 14 years old. NCL’s fleet is one of the world’s biggest and most innovative ones. NCL ships are big , well-equipped, offering feature amenities and onboard activities, and sailing worldwide.
Passenger Shipping Pause 2020
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, NCLH’s entire fleet is with an expanded cancellation policy. All bookings on pre-scheduled itineraries were given the option to cancel without penalties.
Eventually, NCLH canceled all NCL voyages leaving between March 14, 2020, and July 2021.
Next are listed all NCL ships and their scheduled first departure dates/homeports – BLISS , BREAKAWAY , DAWN , ENCORE , EPIC , ESCAPE , GEM , GETAWAY , JADE , JEWEL , JOY , PEARL , SKY , SPIRIT , STAR , SUN , PRIMA , VIVA , PRIDE OF AMERICA .
- In late-March 2021, NCL canceled through October-November all voyages scheduled for the ships ENCORE , JEWEL , Sun , BLISS , JADE , JOY , GEM .
- In early-April 2021, NCL announced new schedules for the ships JADE , JOY and GEM . Previously the boats were planned to restart as follows – JOY , GEM , JADE . JOY’s ex-Greece program was canceled in May. GEM’s ex-Dominicana program was canceled in June.
- In late-May 2021 were canceled JOY’s Caribbean roundtrips from Montego Bay Jamaica and BLISS’ Alaskan program from Seattle .
- In late-June were delayed the restarts of 5 ships .
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Norwegian Cruise Line To Increase Gratuities From April
Norwegian Cruise Line to increase its daily gratuity fee starting from April 1, 2022, impacting different cabin categories.
Norwegian Cruise Line has informed guests and travel agents that it will increase gratuities starting from April 2022. It will be the first hike for the service charge since before the global pandemic and the industry-wide suspension, which began in Spring 2020.
Norwegian Cruise Line Resumes Sailings With Pride Of America Ship
Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Pride of America returned to service on April 9th, and will resume its inter-island sailings in Hawaii.
Pride of America will return to its year-round, cruises from Honolulu Hawaii that it sailed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The itineraries for Pride of America will consist of seven-day sailings that will make stops in Honolulu, Kahului , Hilo , and Nawiliwili .
However, while the ship will return to its pre-pandemic sailing itineraries, details of the cruises will be different for the time being.
Norwegian Cruise Line said in a press release that during the start-up phase, Pride of America will operate with a reduced guest capacity, around 50% per the port agreement with Honolulu Hawaii. As well as a reduced number of crew members, and a limited amount of dining options onboard. At full capacity, Pride of America can normally accommodate about 2,100 guests.
Some of the dining options impacted are the Modern Churrascaria and the Teppanyaki, which will remain closed for the time being onboard.
Norwegian Cruise Line has not yet announced how long the current restrictions will apply onboard Pride of America.
Passengers will be required to present a COVID-19 vaccine card, or a recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Pride of America is not the first cruise ship to resume sailings in Hawaii since the pandemic, however NCL is the first cruise line to offer Hawaii-based cruises post-pandemic.
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Two Norwegian Cruise Ships Resume Service
It has been a busy week for Norwegian Cruise Line, with two ships resuming operations. Norwegian Jewel returned to service by departing on a 12-day cruise from Panama to San Diego, California on March 29. The vessel is the first in the fleet to sail from Panama and the 13th in the fleet to return to service.
Through the end of March 2023, Norwegian Jewel will offer a total of eight Panama Canal roundtrip cruises ranging from eight-to-10-day itineraries starting from Colón, the Caribbean side of Panama, and ending in Panama City.
Norwegian Jade became the first Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship to start cruising in the Mediterranean this year on March 30. The vessel kicked off the European season for Norwegian Cruise Line as she sailed from Civitavecchia, Italy on a 9-night greek isles cruise.
The NCL vessel will sail one cruise from the Italian cruise capital before she repositions to Pireaus, Greece, the same port from where Norwegian Jade became the first ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to resume sailings in 2021.
Norwegian Jades season in the eastern Mediterranean will last through the end of November 2022. After that, the ship will depart on an epic 18-day cruise along the East-African coastline towards Cape Town, South Africa.
Ncl Ships Itineraries Overview
- On January 8 and February 26, 2023, passengers can embark on NCL Norwegian Getaway for a 12-day roundtrip sailing in the Southern Caribbean from New York City. The liner debuts in St. Johnâs, Antigua, and calls at San Juan, Basseterre, Castries, Bridgetown, Puerto Plata, and St Thomas USVI
MEXICAN RIVIERA: Sailing from the West Coast between Los Angeles CA and San Diego CA, passengers can take in the Mexican Riviera beauty with a mix of 5-, 7-, and 8-day roundtrip sailings between Norwegian Bliss, Joy, and Jewel beginning October 30, 2022, through April 16, 2023.
- Norwegian Joy kicks off her sailings on December 18, 2022, with an 8-day roundtrip sailing where she visits San Diego CA for the first time.
BAHAMAS: From December 23, 2022, through April 8, 2023, NCL Norwegian Getaway sails select 8-day voyages to the Bahamas and Florida from New York City which include calls at Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. Beginning January 20, 2023, through May 29, 2023, NCL Norwegian Sky sails 3- and 4-day roundtrip voyages from Miami FL, calling at Nassau, Freeport, and Great Stirrup Cay.
BERMUDA: In November 2022, NCL Norwegian Joy offers passengers a Bahamian winter escape on 5- and 7-day roundtrip sailings from New York City featuring overnights at the Royal Naval Dockyard. NCL Getaway also offers 5-night voyages .
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Ncl Cruise Cancellation Policy
Since January 2016, NCL adjusted the company’s final payment and cancellation policies. Under the new cruise cancellation policy, booked NCL customers will incur penalties further from departure date when canceling.
Before 2016, NCL itineraries 6 days or longer, canceled 56 to 75 days prior to embarkation date guaranteed full deposits back. Under the new cancellation policy, final payment for itineraries 6 or more days is due 90 days prior to departure date . Cancellation penalties start 89 days prior to departure date.
NCL’s cruise deposit schedule also shifted. Previously, for itineraries 6 to 9 nights long, booked customers had to put down a USD 250 pp deposit. After January 2016, that was changed to USD 250 pp for itineraries 7 to 9 days, and USD 100 pp for itineraries 2 to 6 nights long.
Final payments for holiday sailings are now due 120 days prior to departure dates, only excluding Norwegian Sky.
Why So Many Cancelations
While there have been no direct announcement as to why Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled so many sailings so abruptly, it is likely related to a variety of COVID-19 influences that are continuing to impact the industry.
Not only are cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant rising worldwide, but more ports of call are tightening restrictions for visiting ships that may show positive cases. Furthermore, tightened testing requirements are making it impossible for ships to visit some ports of call due to narrow testing window restrictions. This creates the need to further adjust itineraries to available ports of call, which may not be able to accommodate additional ships on short notice.
On board ships, quarantine requirements for crew members who test positive even if asymptomatic as well as close contacts to positive cases are dramatically impacting how ships are able to offer services, entertainment, and activities. It is possible that Norwegian Cruise Line may reassign crew members to different ships to meet staffing needs as ships restart.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Gratuity Increase
The cruise line has sent out a letter informing guests and travel agents that gratuities will be increased from April 1, 2022. The amount will go up by at least 50 cents, depending on which category cabin guests are booked in.
In the letter that was sent out, NCL said,At Norwegian Cruise Line, we are committed to delivering exceptional guest experiences at every step of the cruise journey, and with the dedication of our shipboard team, we are able to turn your vacation dreams into reality. As such, we make it easy for guests to show their appreciation for these vacation heroes with discretionary daily services charges, which provide gratuities to key onboard team members, including room stewards, restaurant servers and behind-the-scenes support staff.
For guests booked in a balcony stateroom or below, the daily service charge will be increased to $16.00 per person. Currently, the charge is $15.50 per person per day. For guests in a Club Balcony suite, the amount will remain the same at $18.00 per person per day.
Guests booked in The Haven & Suite will have their daily gratuities increased to $20.00. Currently, the rate for that category is $18.50 per person per day. This will be a $1.50 increase that will go into effect from April 1, 2022.
Day 3great Stirrup Cay Bahamas
Great Stirrup Cay is a small island that is part of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas owned by Norwegian Cruise Line . Great Stirrup Cay is an unspoiled paradise of magnificent white sandy beaches, majestic coconut palms, and calm, pristine waters where an abundance of colorful marine life inhabits the surrounding coral reefs.
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Ncl Cruise Ship Lifeguards
In April 2017, NCL announced it will employ certified lifeguards on some of its vessels and fleetwide . The news made NCL the 3rd major cruise company with shipboard lifeguards – following Disney and Royal Caribbean.
- The onboard lifeguards are stationed only at the family pools during scheduled swimming pool hours. This staff will be “American Red Cross” trained and certified.
- NCL also offers complimentary swim vests for both adults and kids. Parents can obtain safety vests at Lido Deck’s towel station during daytime hours.
- The first NCL ships with lifeguards will be Norwegian Epic , Norwegian Escape , Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway .
- NCL started testing monitoring through CCTV cameras at family pools since 2015. So adding full-time lifeguards was a decision for more safety on pool decks. However, it should be known that lifeguards don’t replace parental supervision and that parents remain the best form for preventing onboard accidents.
- DCL-Disney employs certified lifeguards since 2013. RCI-Royal Caribbean employs shipboard lifeguards since February 2017 . RCI’s onboard lifeguards are dressed in special uniforms and stationed at every onboard swimming pool, including the Solarium during the complex’ opening hours.