Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) celebrated its return to cruising last week, with Norwegian Jade becoming the company’s first ever vessel to homeport in Athens on Sunday (July 25). The ship was the first of NCL’s 17-ship fleet to welcome guests back on board after 500 days of suspension due to the impact of Covid.
Norwegian Jade will be deployed in the Greek Isles until November 2021, with an immersive itinerary where guests will arrive in a new destination every day, with eight to nine hours on land to explore islands including Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini.
NCL’s Sail Safe health and safety programme remains in place, with all crew and passengers required to be fully vaccinated to embark on voyages until October 31. The redeployment of ships will continue in partnership with local governments, with the Sail Safe programme at its centre.
Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, said: “Welcoming our guests and crew onboard has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career. We are excited to embark on the Great Cruise Comeback with a brand-new itinerary and homeport for our brand, offering our guests an even greater selection of unique vacations at sea.”
Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis added: “We are overjoyed to welcome Norwegian Jade and her guests to Greece. The planned itineraries will offer unique experiences that combine our rich history, bustling culture and famous gastronomy.”
The ship’s move into Athens is part of a long-term strategy from NCL to further increase their presence in Europe. The company plans to position nine ships in the region through 2023, with seven scheduled to sail in Greece.
“Norwegian Jade’s first Greek Isles voyages sold out shortly after we made the announcement that we were on our way back,” said Sommer. “With such strong demand, we are glad to expand our offering in Greece with seven ships through 2023, providing our guests with a range of innovative vessels and itineraries to choose from.”
Passengers will still be able to cancel their bookings 15 days prior and receive a full refund on sailing until October 31 with the company’s Peace of Mind cancellation policy.
On August 7, Norwegian Encore will mark NCL’s return to service from the US, with the ship debuting in Seattle for an inaugural season of cruises in Alaska.