Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has officially commemorated its highly-anticipated cruise comeback with a double debut.
Norwegian Jade was not only the first of the cruise line’s 17-ship fleet to welcome guests after 500 days on 25 July 2021, but she also made NCL history as the first vessel to homeport in Athens (Piraeus).
Until November 2021, guests sailing aboard Norwegian Jade’s Greek Isles itinerary will wake up in a new destination every day, able to spend several hours exploring some of Greece’s most picturesque islands including Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini.
“Welcoming our guests and crew on board has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive of NCL.
“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.”
Ben Angell, vice president and managing director for the Asia Pacific at NCL, added: “Our long-awaited global return to cruising marks an incredibly significant moment for our brand, but also brings us one step closer to our restart in the Asia-Pacific region.
“When Norwegian Spirit arrives in Australia and New Zealand for the very first time in 2022, guests will have the chance to cruise from their doorstep on the recently transformed ship, following an extensive bow-to-stern revitalisation.”
Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis said: “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.”
Norwegian Jade’s deployment in Athens is part of a long-term strategy to further increase NCL’s presence in Europe, one of the line’s most popular cruise destinations.
Through 2023, the company plans to position nine ships in the region, with Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Star 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.”
Norwegian Jade is the first ship to recommence voyages as part NCL’s larger restart efforts. On 7 August 2021, Norwegian Encore will be the first ship to return to service from the US, when she debuts in Seattle for her inaugural season of Alaska cruises.
The fleetwide redeployment will continue in partnership with local governments and are guided by the company’s Sail Safe health and safety program which requires all crew and guests to be fully vaccinated to embark for voyages through 31 October 2021.
NCL’s return to cruising comes not long after Sommer and Angell both urged travel agents to double down and get on the front foot at Travel DAZE 2021.
Featured image source: Norwegian Cruise Line