Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced that it expects to resume cruise operations from the U.S. beginning Aug. 7, 2021 with week-long voyages from Seattle to Alaska, one of the top cruise destinations among its guests.
The news follows the temporary waiver of the Passenger Vessel Services Act, allowing cruising to Alaska to resume upon obtaining the pending Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In partnership with local governments and guided by the robust protocols of the SailSAFE health and safety program, which includes that all crew and guests must be fully vaccinated to embark, travelers will once again be able to explore the “Last Frontier” and all its beauty with NCL.
“Seattle has always been our second home, and we are beyond excited to return to this incredible homeport and to once again bring our guests to Alaska,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, in a press statement. “Twenty-one years ago, we were the first to offer itineraries to Alaska from Seattle, and we continue to celebrate a strong relationship with our partners in this spectacular destination. We have been waiting for a very long time to announce a resumption of cruising from the U.S. We are so proud to be sailing for the first time in over a year from our special homeport of Seattle to the breathtaking state of Alaska.”
This summer, travelers will be able to recommence their cruise adventures to Alaska with weeklong voyages aboard Norwegian Bliss. She will sail revised itineraries from Aug. 7, 2021 through Oct. 16, 2021, offering seven to 13 hours of port time in Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, Alaska. On select sailings, guests will also have the chance to take in the serene views of Glacier Bay National Park or the Holkham Bay Glacier Fjord.
Guests will also benefit from the opening of the second cruise pier in Icy Strait Point, which NCL’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., developed in partnership with Alaska Native-owned Huna Totem Corporation. Initially scheduled to open during the 2020 summer cruise season, the recently expanded Wilderness Landing on Icy Strait Point caters to visitors in search of individualized experiences with the land, wildlife and native peoples of Alaska. The enhancements include upgraded retail and restaurants, as well as shore excursion offerings, including the world’s largest ZipRider zip line, the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in Southeast Alaska, whale watching, fishing adventures and walking trails, as well as Alaska’s first gondola connecting the new Wilderness Landing development to the Adventure Landing and Historic Hoonah Packing Company Cannery. In 2022, the guest experience will continue to evolve with the opening of the Mountain Top gondola that will provide easy, vehicle-free access through the treetops, unlocking additional areas of exploration and spectacular views of icefields, the Fairweather Range and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit people.
“Alaskans are ready to welcome visitors from across the globe to Alaska, where they can personally experience the scenic and cultural wonders that can only be found here,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, in a press statement. “I am grateful for the teamwork and thoughtful planning that many people from Norwegian Cruise Line, Alaska’s local governments, our congressional delegation, tourism industry, and the state’s public health team put into preparing for a cruise ship season that promises to be both safe and rewarding for everyone.”
Norwegian Cruise Line will continue with its approach to redeploying its fleet, working with destination partners and the leading experts of the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council. The Council will regularly evaluate the protocols of the SailSAFE health and safety program and make science-based decisions to protect guests, crew and the destinations it visits.