Norwegian ship based at Port Canaveral among numerous cancellations made by cruise line

Norwegian Escape marks first ship at Port Canaveral to be canceled since restart

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Norwegian Cruise Line issued a new advisory Tuesday, canceling numerous cruises, including one based at Port Canaveral.

The move comes a couple of weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel health notice regarding COVID-19 and cruise ships, warning against cruise travel regardless of vaccination status due to the omicron variant of COVID-19.

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The cruise line announced at least two sailings on the Norwegian Escape ship have been called off, marking the first ship at Port Canaveral to be impacted.

The new advisory includes 11 cruises and at least the next two sailings for the Norwegian Escape. The cruise ship is also the same one that had passengers quarantine locally last week after testing positive on board.

Some of the cruise cancellations go through mid-April, while the Escape’s cancellation will run through Jan. 22, according to the advisory. The cruise ship is currently in the Caribbean and scheduled to return Saturday.

At its monthly commission meeting Wednesday, Port Canaveral announced that Royal Caribbean is also canceling two chartered cruises for the Independence of the Seas.

Captain John Murray remained hopeful the situation will not get worse.

‘’You may see a slowdown in cruising, but I don’t see any indication that we’re going to have the same cessation of operations as we had in March of 2020. So that’s all upbeat and I’m very positive about that,’’ the Port Canaveral CEO said.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday that starting this weekend, the cruise lines will no longer be mandated to follow its safety rules. They can now choose to do so as the conditional sailing order becomes voluntary.

Port Canaveral expects the cruise lines will still keep their measures in place.

‘’The last thing any cruise line wants is to have the CDC come in and impose a lockdown or something, again,’’ Murray said.

The port said Disney, MSC and Carnival have no plans to cancel cruises.

Starting Thursday, Disney now requires all passengers as young as 5-years-old to be vaccinated.

The port said all guests at least 12 years old must show proof of vaccination.

And the port said the cruise lines are now working to get all crew members a booster shot.

‘’We keep our fingers crossed that this too shall pass,’’ Murray said.

About the Authors:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.