The first ship from the Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) fleet – Norwegian Jade – departed from Athens on 25 July, after a 500-day cruising suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company’s Asia-Pacific boss hopes it will see cruising return to Australian shores in 2022.
Norwegian Jade was not only the first of its 17-ship fleet to welcome guests after 500 days, she also made NCL history as the first vessel to homeport in Athens.
NCL managing director of the Asia Pacific Ben Angell said he was hopeful that this latest step in Europe meant we were a step closer to cruising returning in our region.
“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,” Mr Angell said.
“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.”
The cruise from Athens that departed last month will take guests to a new destination every day, exploring some of Greece’s most picturesque islands including luxurious Crete, bustling Mykonos, historical Rhodes and the iconic blue and white Santorini.
NCL chief executive Harry Sommer was relieved that the company was finally able to restart cruising.
“Welcoming our guests and crew on board has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career,” Mr Sommer said.
“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.”
Norwegian Jade‘s deployment 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, Epic, Escape, Getaway, Gem, Jade and 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 Mr 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.”
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