Eight ships from Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Lines will resume service starting in October, with several sailings to depart from PortMiami, the company announced Wednesday.
The Norwegian Breakaway will depart from Miami on October 19th for Caribbean voyages lasting five to 11 days while the Norwegian Pearl will depart December 23, offering cruises through the Panama Canal, Bahamas and the Caribbean.
The resumptions are contingent on obtaining a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew in addition to the company’s robust, multi-layered SailSAFE health and safety program.
Earlier in May, Norwegian threatened to keep its ships out of Florida after the governor signed legislation banning businesses from requiring that customers show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The company said the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis is at odds with guidelines from federal health authorities that would let cruise ships sail in U.S. waters if nearly all passengers and crew members are vaccinated.
"I am so happy that we're finally getting back to what we love the most, and I'm very proud that we continue to redeploy our fleet methodically,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. We always said we wouldn't rush to sail again, but that we'd get back to it when we felt we could do so safely while maintaining our incomparable guest experience.”
Other scheduled voyages include:
- Norwegian Breakaway will cruise seven-day itineraries to Bermuda from New York beginning Oct. 24, 2021.
- Pride of America will offer seven-day Hawaii interisland voyages from Honolulu beginning Nov. 6, 2021.
- Norwegian Bliss will cruise from Los Angeles for seven-day Mexican Riviera voyages beginning Nov. 7, 2021.
- Norwegian Encore will offer seven-night itineraries from Miami to the Caribbean beginning Nov. 14, 2021.
- Beginning Nov. 20, 2021, Norwegian Escape will cruise for the first time from Port Canaveral, offering seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean.
- Beginning Jan. 20, 2022, Norwegian Jewel will be the first ship in the fleet to offer roundtrip Panama Canal cruises from Panama City (Colón and Fuerte Amador).
- Norwegian Sun will sail for the first time in Asia beginning Jan. 28, 2022, offering a five-day Japan itinerary from Hong Kong, before sailing a variety of 11-day cruises from Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.
- Norwegian Spirit will cruise 12-day Australia and New Zealand voyages from Sydney, and Auckland, New Zealand beginning Feb. 9, 2022.
The latest announcement on voyages comes days after the cruise line said it plans to resume weeklong voyages from Seattle, Washington, to Alaska on Aug. 7, pending authorization from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cruise lines have been barred from sailing in U.S. waters or stopping at U.S. ports since March 2020, early in the pandemic.
DeSantis is suing the federal government over the CDC's no-sail order. The suit is in mediation and expected to be settled next month.
Florida is the nation’s cruise capital with three of the world’s busiest ports: Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. The cruise industry generates billions for the economy and employs tens of thousands of Floridians.
On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean said it will be allowed to operate test cruises out of South Florida starting late June.
Volunteer passengers will be sailing on the company's Freedom of the Seas ship for the simulated cruises out of PortMiami.