Norwegian Awaits Feedback on U.S. Cruise Plan; Will Restart Overseas

Norwegian Cruise says it has not heard from the CDC regarding its plans to begin cruising from U.S. ports starting July 4.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Report said on Wednesday it is still waiting for feedback from government health officials to resume its U.S. cruises, but unveiled its plan to restart cruises outside the United States this summer in its efforts to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Shares of the Miami company were off slightly to $30.48 in early morning trading Wednesday.

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Norwegian said in a statement that is still waiting for feedback on its proposal submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 5, outlining plans to restart cruising from U.S. ports starting July 4 and requesting that the CDC lift the Conditional Sail Order.

All initial voyages will operate with fully-vaccinated guests and crew, the company said. Norwegian also has a safety program that includes universal COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation.

Among other things, the Conditional Sail Order requires cruise lines to establish agreements at ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of the crew and develop vaccination strategies.

The Cruise Lines International Association has called the guidelines "unduly burdensome, largely unworkable."

The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Norwegian said Oceania Cruises will resume sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe beginning in August, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises will restart cruising from the U.K. beginning in September. 

The company said it will continue its phased restart with Mediterranean voyages on the Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway in September, following its previously announced Caribbean and Europe itineraries beginning in July and August.

Last week, Goldman Sachs upgraded Norwegian Cruise Line to a buy and raised the price target on the stock amid what the firm sees as a strong post-pandemic rebound in cruising demand.

Cruise lines in particular bore the brunt of bad public relations at the onset of the pandemic amid close-quarters outbreaks that highlighted COVID’s contagiousness.