Norwegian Cruise to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination for Guests and Crew

Norwegian Cruise to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination for Guests and Crew
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 27, 2020. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Cruise operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said on Monday it would require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all guests and crew when it restarts trips from U.S. ports in July.

The company’s announcement follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance last week to the cruise ship industry, including the need for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The cruise operator has taken a hit for over a year due to the pandemic, resulting in heavy annual losses and plunging revenue, forcing it to take new steps to ensure customers can set sail again.

Royal Caribbean, which is set to resume some trips in the Caribbean in June, and Norwegian Cruise have also set up an expert panel to safely resume operations.

“We believe that through a combination of 100 percent mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew and science-backed public health measures ... we can create a safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment for guests and crew,” Norwegian Cruise’s Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio said in a statement.

In a letter to the CDC, Norwegian said it will begin trips at a reduced capacity of 60 percent. It then plans to gradually ramp up its fleet departing from U.S. ports and increase capacity by 20 percent every 30 days.

Shares of all three cruise operators—Carnival Corp, Norwegian Cruise and Royal Caribbean—were up more than 2 percent before the bell.