Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio wants a reply from the CDC concerning Norwegian’s plans to resume sailing from US ports this summer. Earlier this month, NCL sent a proposal to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. It asserted that the company is ready to relaunch in July, with a 100 percent guest and crew vaccination requirement.
The plan also states that Norwegian cruise ships will begin cruise operations at an initial reduced capacity of 60 percent, gradually ramping up the number of ships departing from U.S. ports and increasing capacity by 20 percent every 30 days.
As of this date, the CDC has not responded. It is frustrating that “we have yet to receive even an acknowledgement of this proposal,” said Del Rio in a follow-up ‘reminder letter’ to Walensky.
Del Rio added, “I do recognize that you have many important public health issues to tend to and was reticent to even write, however, we strongly believe our proposal should be the model for how the travel and hospitality industry operates in a COVID-19 environment. Our industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes billions of dollars to this country’s economy and is certainly deserving of your time and attention.”
On Going Rift With Political Situation
There is clearly an ongoing rift between the CDC and the cruise industry that started during the Trump administration at the beginning of the pandemic and continues with the Biden administration. Under increasing pressure to provide the embattled cruise industry with a clear path toward resuming operations from U.S. ports, the CDC met with industry officials this week. But Del Rio says the NCLH proposal was not discussed.
“Going forward, we understand the industry may be having regular meetings with your office but remain concerned that such meetings produce the nonexistent results they have had since last year,” Del Rio wrote.
NCLH shares your view that vaccinations are the primary vehicle for Americans to get back to their everyday lives while containing the spread of the virus. As such, our robust science-backed plan combines mandatory vaccinations for all guests and crew with multiple additional layers of preventative protocols, including universal COVID-19 testing.
“Our plan includes our multi-layered SailSAFE Health and Safety Program developed in conjunction with globally recognized experts, led by former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Scott Gottlieb.”
Come on Dr Walensky. It is time to give Norwegian and the cruise world an answer.