As we continue down this long road of slowly phasing out each and every protocol, another great leap has been taken on our road to normalcy. Effective Tuesday, October 4 Norwegian Cruise Line will end all Covid-19 testing, vaccination and masking requirements.
Norwegian ships are currently operating at a 65% occupancy rate which is up 17% from last quarter. The decision to end all testing and vaccination requirements marks the first of its kind from any major cruise line and will undoubtedly open the door for many cruisers who have been on the sidelines due to the continued restrictions and requirements. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival are still asking that guests are either vaccinated or tested prior to their sailing.
The industry overall has taken a substantial hit, and while well-established companies like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have taken on heavy debt, they are expected to weather the storm. Financial experts have been more cautious about their optimism regarding Norwegian. In January of 2020, the stock was trading at just under $60. After a nearly two-year shutdown, several loans, heavy inflation and rising fuel costs, the stock is now at $11.40. Other lines have similar obstacles, but in their case, record-breaking future bookings and onboard spending give reason for long-term confidence. While incoming revenue for Norwegian also seems to be solid, many experts wonder if the distant 3rd of the “big three” cruise lines will be able to weather the storm.
“Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we cannot wait to celebrate their return,” said Norwegian president and CEO Harry Sommer. While Norwegian has put an end to its Covid-19 protocols, guests will still be subject to whatever requirements that are currently still in place for any of its port of call. Always Be Booked recommends that guests do their research directly with the cruise line for their particular sailing.