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Norwegian Cruise Line requests response from CDC on its plan to restart cruising from U.S. ports

Christian Fernsby |
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sent a reminder letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) requesting a response to the Company’s previously submitted plan to resume cruise operations from U.S. ports in July.

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This comprehensive plan includes the Company’s multi-layered SailSAFE Health and Safety Program developed in conjunction with globally recognized experts, including the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP”), co-chaired by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Governor Mike Leavitt, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Company’s robust SailSAFE program extends well beyond the protocols of the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, all of which have already reopened including hotels and resorts, casinos, restaurants, sporting venues, theme parks and airlines.

The Company strongly believes that by requiring mandatory vaccinations for guests and crew on initial voyages, in addition to comprehensive protocols including universal COVID-19 testing, the plan shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (“CSO”) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities visited.

As such, the Company continues to be optimistic the CDC will agree that this plan eliminates the need for the CSO and therefore, strongly requests the lifting of the order for Norwegian’s vessels, allowing them to cruise from U.S. ports starting July 4.

"Dear Dr. Walensky:

"Last Monday, April 5, 2021, I submitted a proposal to you outlining Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s (“NCLH”) plan to resume cruise operations from U.S. ports this July. Our plan includes our multi-layered SailSAFETM Health and Safety Program developed in conjunction with globally recognized experts, including the blue-ribbon Healthy Sail Panel 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.

"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.

"The safety and security of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our number one priority. We recognize that our stringent vaccination requirements will temporarily preclude certain of our key guest demographics from purchasing cruises on our brands, including families with passengers under 15 years of age, but we believe this is the safest and most effective way to cruise in the current public health environment.

"It is frustrating, that to date, we have yet to receive even an acknowledgment of this proposal. 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.

"As you know, our industry had a meeting with your office on Monday, and while we appreciate the dialogue, our proposal was not addressed. 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. While abiding by science and data, as the CDC normally does, you lend a fresh perspective to this issue. Our sincerest hope is that you, and the entire Biden-Harris Administration, allow us to responsibly cruise again.

"Accordingly, I respectfully request a prompt response to my written proposal. Americans look forward to cruising once again and we look forward to relaunching our ships on as timely a basis as possible and restoring American jobs.


"Frank Del Rio
"President and CEO
"Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd."

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