Norwegian Won’t Cruise from U.S. Until August at Earliest

Don’t expect Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings or its three brands to operate from the United States until August at the earliest.

“The July U.S. launch at least from our company, it’s just not possible,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, on the company’s first quarter earnings call on Thursday. “It was possible back in early April, when we proposed to the CDC 100 percent vaccination. We’ve always said it takes about 90 days to stand up a vessel.

“So from April 5, when we submitted our proposal, 90 days would have been early July and that was possible, but today we’re in early May, so now we’re looking past that. But look there is more to it than just what the CDC says, there is only so much capacity to be able to stand up vessels.”

Del Rio said getting a cruise ship ready to sail after a 15 to 18 month lay up was not an overnight process.

“It takes a while and making it more complicated as the travel restrictions for crew (and) the vaccination mandates that we are imposing for crew,” he noted.

The focus is on starting up outside the U.S. first.

“Especially in the summer season where Europe is the big draw,” said Del Rio, noting the best place for ships to operate in the summer is Europe.

“In a couple of occasions, we are standing up vessels in the Caribbean, because the CDC up to now has not given us a pathway,” he added.

“Outside of Alaska, the world’s cruise lines are typically outside of the U.S. in the summer time. We’re cruising elsewhere, we’re cruising primarily in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, et cetera. So seasonality plays a big role as well the final CDC regulations will play a big role.”

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