Caribbean Cruise News

Cruise ship ‘Norwegian Gem’ to start calling at St. Maarten in mid-August.

Cruise ship ‘Norwegian Gem’ to start calling at St. Maarten in mid-August. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will resume cruise calls to St. Maarten starting in mid-August with its ship Norwegian Gem, announced Port St. Maarten Management on Tuesday.

This is part of NCL’s resumption of cruising strategy that will feature three seven-day cruises starting from July 25, two in the Caribbean and one in the Mediterranean. For all sailings prior to October 31, Norwegian will require all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Norwegian Gem will be homeporting out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, as of August 15. Its week-long itinerary, which includes two days at sea, will call at St. Maarten, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Antigua. The ship will operate at reduced capacity.

Port St. Maarten said in a press release on Tuesday that NCL’s decision to call at St. Maarten is a result of “strategic discussions” between the port and cruise line. “The port will also be looking for additional opportunities and will continue to actively engage with the industry,” it was stated in the release.

Originally built in 2007 for a whopping US $700 million, Norwegian Gem has a capacity of 2,394 guests and 1,070 crew. The 93,530 gross-tonne vessel has an overall length of 965 feet and a width of 125 feet.

NCL is one of three cruise lines within the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. portfolio, with the remaining two being Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“Port St. Maarten will continue to look for opportunities to grow the sector once again, which came to a complete standstill with the pandemic. We have the Royal Caribbean Group homeporting out of the country in June and now commercial cruise calls in August.

“The cruise industry has been working and refining their existing health and safety protocols for their guests and they are confident that the measures they have taken will enhance the visitor experience, offering the healthiest and safest vacation at sea.

“We would like to once again call on the population to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. It is very important that the majority of the populace is vaccinated, reaching herd immunity of at least 70 per cent. This will send a strong signal to the tourism and travel trade, including the cruise industry, that destination St. Maarten is a safe destination to visit.

“The cruise industry has its own safety ashore criteria and are working in collaboration with land-based tour operator partners to extend health and safety measures to each destination, and therefore St. Maarten as a cruise destination also has to meet those requirements, and a vaccinated population will fast-track the recovery of cruise tourism,” said Port St. Maarten.

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