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Norwegian cruise ship sets sail for first time in 500 days

Norwegian Jade sets sail from Athens after 500 days.
Norwegian Jade sets sail from Athens after 500 days. (Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line on Instagram @norwegiancruiseline)

MIAMI – Cruise ships are officially back — despite the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, and despite the growing concern over the new variants.

On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade set sail from Athens, Greece, making it the first ship in the company’s fleet to relaunch since cruises halted in March of 2020 because of the pandemic.

This voyage set sail with a fully vaccinated population onboard, in addition to other health protocols, including universal COVID-19 testing immediately prior to boarding.

The company says it now has a 100% vaccination policy for all voyages across its three brands to protect its guests, crew, and the communities visited. This program is being called the “SailSAFE” health and safety program.

“Our long-awaited Great Cruise Comeback has officially commenced with the return of Norwegian Jade, the first ship in our fleet to resume cruising,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “With resumption plans now announced for all 28 of our ships through April 2022, we are excited to once again give our guests the opportunity to travel and explore the world with the comfort of knowing that all of our ships will initially operate under our robust science-backed SailSAFE health and safety program including 100% vaccination of guests and crew. We continue to see incredible pent-up demand for future cruise vacations and I look forward to welcoming our loyal guests back onboard.”

The company also announced its phased relaunch plans for all 28 ships across its three brands, which will continue until April 2022.

The first cruise ship to begin sailing in the United States is scheduled for Aug. 7 aboard Norwegian Encore, which will sail from Seattle to Alaska.

All initial voyages will operate with their “SailSAFE” health and safety protocols and will be evaluated and modified with the latest science and technology.

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About the Author:

Nicole Lopez-Alvar is a Miami-born and raised journalist and TV personality covering South Florida and beyond for Local10.com.