(AP) Norwegian Cruise Line is requesting permission to resume travel from U.S. ports on July 4, requiring passengers and crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to travel.
The Miami-based company said its precautions go far beyond actions taken by other players in the travel and leisure industry that have already reopened, including airlines, hotels, restaurants and sporting events. .
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd plans to start cruises to the United States at 60% capacity and increase it to 80% in August and 100% in September. Norwegian also operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Shares of the company jumped 7.2% on Monday and pushed up shares of rival cruise lines. Carnival Corp. grew by 4.7% and Royal Caribbean Group by 2.9%.
CEO Frank Del Rio detailed the request in a letter to Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has blocked cruise ships from U.S. ports with a no-sail order since March 2020, after outbreaks on several ships around the world.
The CDC updated its guidelines on Friday to say that fully vaccinated people can travel to the United States without getting tested for the coronavirus or going into quarantine afterwards. He also released more technical details of his conditional plan to allow cruise ships in U.S. ports, but he did not say when cruise lines could resume navigation.
Still, Walensky called for caution and said she would campaign against travel in general given the growing number of infections.
The CDC said on Monday it is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising using a phased approach. Navigating safely and responsibly during a global pandemic is difficult, especially due to newer variants of COVID-19, the agency added.
An industry trade group, the Cruise Lines International Association, has lambasted the CDC’s updated guidelines and called on the agency to lift its order to ban sailing.
The new requirements are excessively onerous, largely impractical, and appear to reflect a zero risk goal rather than the COVID mitigation approach that is the foundation of all other U.S. sectors of our society, the group said. He said the CDC’s requirements affect nearly half a million American workers in companies that serve cruise ships, without a reasonable time frame for the safe return of the cruise.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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