Norwegian Cruise Line Says Guests Can Explore Ports on Their Own
Norwegian Cruise Line has changed its stance on port excursions as it makes plans for a Summer 2021 return to cruising. New guidelines from the line say they will allow guests to explore ports on their own freely, or book with a third-party provider. This update changes earlier guidance released which stated that to travel in port, guests will be required to be with a Norwegian-sponsored excursion.
The line has posted this new update to its Sail Safe webpage on its website in a section called Safety Ashore. The guidelines read as following, “Beyond the Port: Guests are free to explore ports of call on their own, according to protocols in each specific port, and can purchase shore excursions as they wish.”
Norwegian’s new stance on port visits comes on the heels of its announcement that all of its upcoming sailings will follow the line’s SailSAFE Health and Safety program guidelines which include vaccine requirements for guests and crew, COVID testing, enhanced health screening protocol, and additional onboard safety measures.
In a Travel Weekly podcast, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Chief of Sales Katina Athanasiou said the following, “We anticipated needing to do this shore excursion bubble for the first month of operations...We've already lifted that, because in working with our ports and the authorities and each of the local governments, they now anticipate their vaccination increase to be enough that their local communities are going to be supported, and we no longer have to do a shore excursion bubble. So guests will be free to tour on their own."
On July 25, 2021, the Norwegian Jade is slated first of the line’s 17 vessels to resume operations sailing seven-day Greek Isles cruises from Athens. Norwegian will resume operations in North America this August offering Caribbean itineraries on Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Gem. This September, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway will resume operations offering Mediterranean itineraries from Rome and Barcelona.