The cruise line is one of the first to make its return to Florida, one of the most popular cruising destinations for its easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. With so many opportunities from Florida, along with the US state's own beautiful, sandy beaches, it's no wonder so many are looking forward to cruise lines returning to the state.
Norwegian Battles Florida Courts
To attempt their own return to Florida cruising, Norwegian, hoping to avoid the $5,000 fine per passenger, addressed the issue with Florida's courts beforehand. Suing the Florida surgeon general and Department of Health in July of 2021, Norwegian challenged Governor Ron DeSantis' prior decision to charge the fine to businesses, making them the first cruise line to officially fight this requirement as well.
Upon its review by US District Judge Kathleen Williams, the law was preliminarily waived for the cruise line, with Williams stating that the Florida fine ruling wasn't likely to pass were it brought to higher courts. At this time, no statements have been made, and Norwegian plans to bring its renowned cruises back to the state.
On Monday, August 9th, the governor's office shared its own dissenting opinion, stating that they'll plan to appeal the case and carry it to a higher court. While no further actions have been made just yet, Norwegian will be allowed to require its passengers to provide proof of full vaccination without being charged a fine for the time being.
While Norwegian cruise lines is one of the only American cruise lines requiring 100% vaccination for its passengers, this push comes as no surprise. The entire industry has taken a shock to the system and the cruise lines -- each in their own way -- are trying to navigate the crisis in the best way they know how, working with the states and countries they visit.
We have yet to see if Judge Williams' verdict will hold up if appealed, but plan to stay up-to-date with any current cruise news, especially for our oceanic and European river cruises.
At long last, some European cruise lines are coming back to the scene this year. After the start of 2020's COVID pandemic, cruise lines -- and the travel industry as a whole -- saw a sudden decline. Countless European river cruises were cancelled, and virtually no one was booking future travel. With no end in sight, many cruise lines were tasked with weighing an uncertain future along with the current postponed cruisers who'd already booked.
Fortunately, many of the largest cruise lines were able to use that time to upgrade their current fleets, performing updates that were only possible with the extended time frame. Now, the travel industry is slowly regaining its traction, with seemingly more people interested than ever before.
Return of the Vikings
One of our top cruise lines, Viking River Cruises made its return to Europe cruising this past July, with its first European sailing in the United Kingdom. The adventurous cruise line has now also had sailings in Bermuda, Iceland and the Mediterranean.
Viking's oceanic cruise offerings have been the quickest to make a comeback, but that doesn't mean other options aren't on the horizon. While European river cruises have been slower to make a return, Viking has several planned for the 2022 sailing season, with almost all itineraries seeing a return.
In addition, the all-new Viking Octantis ship will begin its first sailings this year. The ship has been specifically designed for North America and Great Lakes cruises.
Even more planned for 2022
Several cruise companies have decided to put a hold on 2021 to see how things went, hopeful that travel would fully resume by the year 2022. Our other top lines, Scenic River Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises, are among the others planning to make their comeback debut in 2022. As things become more apparent, these lines have released more and more dates to offer a range of options for potential cruisers.
We're excited to see the return of European river cruising and travel as a whole, and remain hopeful that our favorite cruise lines will continue to be with us for years to come. Traveling has never been more sought after now that we've been cooped up for so long. We're overjoyed ourselves with the prospect of sailing aboard our favorite ships, visiting the historic sites, and being immersed in the culturally rich cities of Europe once again.
To learn more about our updated cruise offerings for 2022, contact our experts today.