Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) says it will extend its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for guests and crew through the end of the year.
The company made the announcement on Wednesday (Aug. 18) as cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant continue to rise across the United States.
“Under the guidance of globally recognized public health experts and to prioritize the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit, we have decided to extend guest vaccination requirements for all sailings through December 31, 2021," Norwegian Cruise Line’s Christine Da Silva, vice president of communication and events, said in a statement, as reported by USA Today.
Passengers who are not old enough to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will not be allowed to sail, the company said.
As such, this fully excludes young ones from sailing as vaccines are not yet available to children under 12.
"However, we eagerly await an expansion of the age criteria for vaccinations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so we can once again welcome these guests back on board," the cruise line said.
The update comes just after NCL launched its first cruise from Florida in 17 months.
Last Sunday (Aug. 15), Norwegian Gem sailed to the Caribbean from NCL’s new terminal at PortMiami, where guests were required to show proof of vaccination before boarding.
This specific requirement was posted after a judge, on Aug. 9, approved NCL’s request for fully vaccinated sailings – a decision that, in turn, reversed an order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who previously passed a law that banned “vaccine passports” in Florida.
NCL originally announced in April that it would require 100 per cent of passengers and crew members to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding a ship.
For the latest on NCL’s health and safety protocols, click here.