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Del Rio warns mid-summer US cruise restart could be in jeopardy

As NCLH awaits the CDC, 'A potential mid-summer restart from US ports could be in jeopardy,' Frank Del Rio said Thursday
CEO Frank Del Rio said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings remains actively engaged in discussions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but cautioned that time is short for a July restart.

'As valuable time goes by, given the lead time needed to stand up a ship and the need for an acceptable and definitive agreement with the CDC, a potential mid-summer restart from US ports could be in jeopardy,' Del Rio said Thursday ahead of the company's business update.

Plan 'exceeds CSO'

He reiterated his belief that NCLH's proposal for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of crew and passengers for initial cruises, universal testing and other protocols exceeds the CDC's conditional sailing order and 'would accelerate the path to resume cruising while allowing for the CDC to reallocate resources to competing public health priorities.'

Working through new guidance

Del Rio added that the NCLH team is 'working through the recently issued and modified technical guidance for which additional clarification is needed on how the incorporation of vaccine requirements impacts the conditional sail order and our path forward.'

Do 'numerous and onerous' items apply to vaccinated cruises?

It's unclear, Del Rio said, if the 'numerous and onerous' items spelled out in the guidance apply to vaccinated voyages as well.

Just yesterday, in issuing a raft of prescriptive new guidance, the CDC said it is committed to working with the cruise industry and port partners to resume cruising following the CSO's phased approach, adding: 'This goal aligns with the prospective resumption of passenger operations in the United States by mid-summer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers.'