Explorations From Home: Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line


Join AAA Travel and Norwegian Cruiseline as we look at the deals and destinations that have made Norwegian a popular choice for AAA members.

Explorations From Home, Episode 24: Norwegian Returns to Sea


Explorations From Home, Episode 23: Norwegian Returns to the Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line's award-winning ships are designed for you to enjoy as you choose while cruising to beautiful destinations around the world. Add a wide range of superb dining options and spectacular entertainment and you’ll experience your best vacation ever. No schedules. No stipulations. Just award-winning entertainment and diverse dining options from the only cruise line built for versatile vacationing. Enrich your cruise vacation with up to 5 Free Offers with Norwegian's Free At Sea promotion. Choose from Free Open Bar, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions, Free WiFi and Free Kids. In this episode, we learn about departures from popular homeport locations, as well as what you can expect on an upcoming NCL cruise.

NEW SHIP ALERT: Learn more in our spotlight article, Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Norwegian Prima

AAA Travel is here to help you plan your next vacation. Plan your next cruise, and speak with a skilled AAA Travel advisor to find your next escape. Schedule an appointment with an advisor now.


Explorations From Home, Episode 23: Norwegian Prima


Explorations From Home, Episode 23: Norwegian Prima

Welcome aboard the first of a new class of ships designed to elevate every expectation. Dip into the horizon at Infinity Beach, walk over water on our new glass bridge and discover many more amazing experiences. Never wait for that second round — or anything else. Revel in the highest staff levels of any new ship and always feel prioritized. This is the Norwegian Prima, and Norwegian Cruise Line is here to tell you more about this next wave of cruising experiences. 

Learn more about this new ship in our spotlight article, Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Norwegian Prima

AAA Travel is here to help you plan your next vacation. Plan your Prima cruise, and speak with a skilled AAA Travel advisor to find your next escape. Schedule an appointment with an advisor now.


Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Cruise Line has opened the first of six ships within its highly anticipated next class of vessels, Prima Class, the Brand’s first new class of ships in nearly 10 years. With voyages beginning in summer 2022, Norwegian Prima, the first of the six ships, will be 965 feet long, 142,500 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy. The vessel will be a game-changer for NCL, offering guests exciting itineraries, more wide-open spaces, thoughtful and stunning design, a variety of new experiences as well as Norwegian’s exceptional service.

“Despite not having sailed in more than a year, we never stopped working and innovating, we never once pressed pause,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “In fact, we doubled down on our brand investment in order to deliver unforgettable guest experiences that go well beyond expectations. Not only will we begin cruising this July, we’re so proud and so incredibly happy to announce the start of an exciting new chapter as we introduce the Prima Class and the first ship in a line of unrivaled vessels with Norwegian Prima.” Sommer continued, “An exemplary representation of our brand evolution, bringing together our ‘Guest First’ philosophy and our spirit of innovation, Norwegian Prima personifies everything our guests love about NCL and raises the bar. This brand-new class of ships is truly designed to put our guests first.”

The show-stopping vessel built in Marghera, Italy by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri features striking hull artwork designed by Italian graffiti artist Manuel Di Rita, known commonly as “Peeta.” For the first time on any NCL vessel, the captivating hull art extends to the forward superstructure of the ship. World-class architects that helped design Norwegian Prima include Italian designer Piero Lissoni and powerhouse architectural firms Rockwell Group, SMC Design, Tillberg Design of Sweden, YSA DESIGN and Miamibased Studio Dado who conceptualized and composed the aesthetic of various restaurants, staterooms and public areas on board.

“The name ‘Prima,’ which means “first” in Italian, is a natural fit that ties into our legacy of firsts in the industry and a fitting tribute to our new Italian shipbuilding partners at Fincantieri,” added Sommer. “We are very honored to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line for the development of its next class of ships,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

“Norwegian Prima marks the beginning of our collaboration, which will see the delivery of six next-generation vessels that are designed to take guest experiences to a new level focusing on elevated, spacious and thoughtful design. As we emerge from this global crisis, this announcement marks a strong sign of hope for the cruise sector and is a testament to Fincantieri’s global leadership role in the industry.”

Wide-Open Spaces and Elevated Experiences That Go Beyond Expectation

“We innovated with purpose and created Norwegian Prima to push the boundaries of conventional cruising, offering our guests more wide-open spaces, thoughtful art and design and world-class service which places our guests at the heart of it all,” added Sommer.

Norwegian Prima will offer the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories, delivering an unrivaled guest experience. She will offer the largest variety of suite categories available at sea with 13 suite categories as well as the largest three-bedroom suites of any new cruise ship and the Brand’s largest-ever inside, oceanview and balcony staterooms, including the Brand’s largest-ever bathrooms and showers for standard stateroom categories. Norwegian Prima will also offer the most outdoor deck space of any new cruise ship including more total pool deck space than any other ship in NCL’s fleet as well as multiple infinity pools and vast outdoor walkways allowing guests to take in the sea, the ocean breeze and a variety of elevated experiences.

The Elevated Haven By Norwegian

To provide guests with an unrivaled experience in luxury cruising, The Haven by Norwegian on Norwegian Prima has been elevated to offer the Brand’s most exclusive and centralized suite complex. Spanning eight decks of suites and public areas, the ultra-premium keycard only access ship-within-aship concept provides guests with private amenities, dedicated services and the most luxurious accommodations on board. For the first time, the Cruise Line relocated all 107 Haven suites to the aft (the rear of the ship) within close proximity of private elevators exclusively reserved for Haven guests. These elevators rise directly into The Haven public areas on decks 16 and 17. NCL evolved The Haven's design to be more open to the sea than ever before. For the first time, every public area in The Haven offers stunning sea and destination views. The Haven Courtyard on Norwegian Prima has been transformed into an expansive Haven Sundeck, boasting a stunning new infinity pool overlooking the ship's wake and a new outdoor spa with a glass-walled sauna and cold room.

Pushing the boundaries of exclusive design within the reimagined exclusive space, all public areas and suites in The Haven have been designed by Piero Lissoni, one of Italy’s preeminent designers. Lissoni provided an elegant and sophisticated design to The Haven Sundeck, The Haven Restaurant, The Haven Lounge & Bar and the Outdoor Spa: Sauna and Cold Room.

Outdoor Living on Ocean Boulevard

Furthering the elevated experience that places guests first and understanding the important connection they have with the outdoors and proximity to the sea, NCL reimagined its industry pioneering The Waterfront by doubling the space and adding a greater variety of experiences and dining options than ever before by introducing Ocean Boulevard. Located on deck eight, Ocean Boulevard at 44,000 square feet long, wraps around the entire deck, allowing guests to walk around the entire ship and experience amazing ocean views while having the choice to partake in numerous exceptional outdoor activities.

Global Cuisine with Indulge Food Hall

As part of the multifaceted experiences offered on Ocean Boulevard, NCL introduced the Brand’s firstever upscale open-air marketplace with Indulge Food Hall. Created to elevate the guest-sensory experience on Norwegian Prima, Indulge Food Hall offers visitors diverse menu items from a variety of culinary venues as well as a mix of indoor and outdoor seating.
NCL’s first-ever food hall was thoughtfully designed, offering various cuisines and showcasing captivating colors and smells with 11 venues including returning guest culinary favorites Coco’s, serving artisan sweet treats; Q Texas Smokehouse, boasting delicious American Southern comfort food and barbecue; and Starbucks. Indulge will unveil first-ever dining venues including Seaside Rotisserie, offering a wide array of rotisserie-cooked dishes; Nudls, an emporium serving noodle dishes from around the world, from Italian to Thai cuisines; Tamara, preparing classic Indian dishes and multiple vegetarian food options; The Latin Quarter, serving classic Latin food with a twist; Tapas Food Truck, cooking elevated Spanishinspired street food; Garden Kitchen, where guest can order customized salads with more than two dozen ingredients to choose from; Just Desserts, featuring classic dessert items such as pies and cakes and Just Ice Cream serving all guest favorite ice cream flavors and over-the-top decadent creations.

Hybrid Dining on Ocean Boulevard

Adding to the culinary offerings available on Norwegian Prima’s Ocean Boulevard, the site will host three additional dining venues offering both indoor and outdoor seating including Onda By Scarpetta, Los Lobos and The Local Bar & Grill. Onda by Scarpetta, which debuted on Norwegian Encore in 2019 and also available on Norwegian Spirit, will showcase the rich and bold flavors for which the modern Italian land-based, award-winning Scarpetta restaurants are recognized. The venue, designed by esteemed design firm Studio Dado, features an elegant atmosphere, modern design and expansive indoor and outdoor ocean views. Los Lobos, the Brand’s premium Mexican restaurant, returns on Norwegian Prima to boast traditional Mexican flavors with modern flair set in a contemporary atmosphere also designed by Studio Dado. The revamped Local Bar & Grill set in an upscale beach club atmosphere will showcase live music where guests can relax and enjoy cocktails and classic Americana cuisine.

A Day on Ocean Boulevard: The Concourse, Infinity Beach, Oceanwalk and La Terraza

Created to be a destination in and of itself within Norwegian Prima and furthering the day-to-day elevated guest experiences available on Ocean Boulevard, the Company unveiled additional “firsts” for the Brand including The Concourse, an outdoor sculpture garden features an art wall designed by famed artist David Harber and six installations designed by Alexander Krivosheiw featuring immersive art inspired by ancient mythology and contemporary abstract forms. The seven sculptures, valued at over $2 million, offer stunning effects that change as the sun sets, making them perfect for photos and social media posts. Guests can also relax at Infinity Beach featuring two infinity pools, one located on each side of the ship and close to the ocean surface, which is an industry-design first that allows pool-goers to take in the vastness of the ocean while soaking in the open air. The two Oceanwalk glass bridges, also new to the Brand, will provide guests with photographic, breathtaking views that will make them feel as if they are walking on air over the water. La Terraza, an open-air lounge, features a quaint retreat for visitors to catch stellar forward-facing sea views.

Bucket-List Itineraries on the Industry’s Newest Ship

Summer 2022: Northern Europe and The UK

Following a string of inaugural cruises and beginning August 2022, Norwegian Prima will be the newest ship embarking in Northern Europe. From Aug. 17 to Sept. 13, 2022, she will sail a series of eight-day voyages from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Copenhagen, Denmark, offering guests the opportunity to explore the continent’s Northern Europe, Norwegian Fjords and Baltic regions.

Fall/Winter 2022: Bermuda and The Caribbean

On Sept. 23, Norwegian Prima will depart Southampton, England, on a 12-day transatlantic voyage visiting Lerwick, Scotland with an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland, before arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and ending her journey in New York to commence a five-day roundtrip itinerary on Oct. 10 to Bermuda, where she will make her debut as the newest ship sailing the fall and winter season. On Oct. 15, she will depart from New York on a 12-day open-jaw immersive Caribbean itinerary where she will be the newest ship in the region and for the first time ever for NCL, the vessel will visit Galveston, TX. She will have calls to Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Oranjestad, Aruba, with all visits featuring between nine and 10 in-port hours. On Oct. 31, Norwegian Prima will kickstart her Caribbean season departing from Galveston, TX, to Miami on an 11-day itinerary with visits to Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire, and the Company’s recently enhanced private island Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. From Nov. 19 to Dec. 3, Norwegian Prima will sail from Miami offering three, seven-day Western Caribbean cruises visiting Harvest Caye, the Company’s private resort destination in Belize, in addition to other notable ports including Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan Island, Honduras.

Fall/Winter 2022-2023: Western Caribbean Voyages Homeporting from Orlando, Fla. (Port Canaveral)

From Dec. 11, 2022, to March 19, 2023, Norwegian Prima will homeport in Orlando, Fla. (Port Canaveral), sailing 15 roundtrip Western Caribbean voyages featuring five, seven, and nine-day port-rich itineraries visiting notable destinations, including Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas.

Spring 2023: Bermuda

Starting March 28 to May 7, Norwegian Prima will sail a mini-season of five and mostly seven-day roundtrip Bermuda voyages from New York. She will call at Norfolk, Virginia – the gateway to Virginia Beach and the historic area of Colonial Williamsburg. The vessel will also sail to the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda, where itineraries include one or two overnight stays at the Royal Naval Dockyard to allow flexibility for guests to explore its shops, restaurants and pristine beaches on their own time.

Spring and Summer 2023: Northern Europe

On May 14, Norwegian Prima heads back to Iceland and Northern Europe, departing on an 11-day transatlantic journey from New York City to Reykjavik, Iceland, visiting Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, before making calls to several immersive Icelandic ports, including Akureyri, which resides on the longest fjord in Iceland and Isafjordur, where guests can take in Icelandic Viking history and unspoiled natural marvels. The voyage culminates in Reykjavik with an overnight stay, where guests can partake in the cosmopolitan experiences of Iceland’s capital and largest city featuring contemporary art, a growing culinary scene and thriving music culture while also maintaining a connection to the great outdoors with geothermal springs and whale watching activities.

From May 25 to Sept. 7, Norwegian Prima’s summer 2023 season will offer a mix of 10 and 11-day Norway and Iceland sailings from Reykjavik, Iceland, and Southampton, England, featuring extensive port time between nine and 14 in-port hours to offer guests an immersive experience. Throughout her voyage, guests will have the unique opportunity to cruise through the remarkable Heritage Fjords, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where Norwegian Prima will be one of the few ships that meet the criteria to sail in these environmentally protected waters. Other bucket-list worthy destinations include a call to Geiranger, Norway, featuring 14 hours in port where guests can visit Norway’s most famous fjord, Geiranger Fjord, an awe-inspiring deep blue UNESCO protected nine-mile fjord surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush vegetation. The world-famous Seven Sisters and The Bridal Veil waterfalls are just two of the numerous cascades that run down the steep mountainside throughout Geiranger Fjord. Norwegian Prima will also call to Olden, Norway, and feature 10-hours in port with access to the jaw-dropping Briksdal Glacier, a branch of the famous Jostedal Glacier, where guests can partake in once-in-a-lifetime hikes and nature trails.

On Sept. 17, Norwegian Prima concludes her summer 2023 season with a 14-day roundtrip voyage from Southampton, England, featuring between seven and 10 in-port hours with notable calls to Dublin, Ireland; Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland, with an overnight in Reykjavik; and visits to Geiranger, Olden, and Stavanger, Norway.

Did you know?

Working with a AAA travel advisor makes planning your next cruise easier than ever. No matter the destination that catches your eye, allow a AAA Travel advisor to help you plan the getaway you deserve, today. Be sure to ask for the AAA Triple Check.

AAA Triple Check Certified Agents review itineraries and ensure that travelers are ready for their journey and understand the road ahead.  Agents compare travel plans against the AAA COVID-19 impact map, which highlights areas under restrictions for travel across the United States. Here, agents will inform members on how their plans could possibly be impacted by travel regulations.

But the review doesn’t end with COVID-19 navigations. Triple Check Agents will also assure members are aware of AAA Diamond-rated experiences along their journey. This includes rated and reviewed hotels, rental cars, and preferred partners who are available to make your vacation even more memorable. In addition, the review will dive deep into savings and add-ons, checking for AAA member exclusive pricing, rebates, future travel credits, and more. Your AAA membership entitles you to these perks and benefits, and AAA Travel is dedicated to finding you every opportunity to utilize these features and benefits.

Visit and meet an agent in our AAA Northeast directory.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has been the premier innovator in the cruise line industry for over 54 years.  The line was the first to eliminate set dining times and provide guests with the freedom to cruise on their schedule to over 450 incredible destinations around the world. An award-winning fleet provides an unparalleled onboard experience and will continue to expand with the introduction of Norwegian Encore and the arrival of the Leonardo Class ships starting in 2022.

Guests are welcomed aboard with a wide variety of complementary and specialty dining options, entertainment that ranges from live music and comedy to shows straight from Broadway, and a wide range of accommodations that are perfect for any type of traveler.

It's Time to Break Free


A Culinary Experience

Get a taste of the world without leaving the ship. With a variety of superb restaurants and no set dining times, you can enjoy our wide selection of up to 28 specialty and complimentary dining options on your schedule. Starbucks® cafes and kiosks are now available fleetwide so you can start your day in your favorite way.

Take a tour of Italy with the authentic Tuscan cuisine at La Cucina. Premium cuts of steak will welcome you on The Waterfront at Cagney’s Steakhouse. Want to step outside your comfort food zone? Food Republic will take your taste buds on a culinary expedition.

NCL remains committed to being responsible corporate citizens by fostering a culture of awareness and respect for the world’s resources. This core company value extends beyond ships and encourages the preservation of the precious natural resources that are integral to success. The line's ability to offer fantastic guest experiences relies on the clean and healthy marine environment and well-being of the destinations they visit.

Voted Best Family Experience by Travel Weekly


Experience an unforgettable family vacation with Norwegian Cruise Line®. From dodgeball to cupcake decorating, there are lots of activities all over our ships for every age group. Plus, kids can learn to juggle at Circus School in Splash Academy and teens have the coolest themed parties in Entourage – our complimentary youth programs. These are the moments you’ll remember. Cruise Norwegian and see why we were voted Best Family Experience by Travel Weekly.

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Cruise Line has opened the first of six ships within its highly anticipated next class of vessels, Prima Class, the Brand’s first new class of ships in nearly 10 years. With voyages beginning in summer 2022, Norwegian Prima, the first of the six ships, will be 965 feet long, 142,500 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy. The vessel will be a game-changer for NCL, offering guests exciting itineraries, more wide-open spaces, thoughtful and stunning design, a variety of new experiences as well as Norwegian’s exceptional service.


AAA Members love Bermuda and flock to Norwegian Cruise Line's "Home Port Cruises" from New York and Boston.

Let’s Plan Your Cruise

With ships in the water, and islands ready to greet you, now is the time to plan your next cruise escape. Let AAA Travel find the perfect cabin, the best excursions, arrange your flights, and plan your vacation with you!

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Speak with a skilled AAA Travel advisor to find your next escape. Schedule an appointment with an advisor now.

No One Does Hawaii Like Norwegian

Feel free to let the gentle breezes of Waikīkī stir up your Aloha spirit as you set out to explore the Hawaiian islands with Norwegian. Soak up the vibes as you sink your toes in a black-sand beach before your trek to the top of Haleakalā — Maui’s massive volcano. Experience the lush forests, crystal-clear turquoise waters and colorful undersea life that will have you feeling like you are in paradise.


Celebrity Cruises unveils 'Always Included' approach to cruising

Celebrity Cruises believes vacations should be effortless from the start. That’s why the popular cruise line announced a new approach to cruising called ‘Always Included,’ putting an end to confusing promotions, complicated add-ons and limited-time offers.

Starting Tuesday, Nov. 17th, every Celebrity Cruises vacation will include Wi-Fi, drinks and tips, simplifying the luxury vacation experience.

“Everything we do at Celebrity is driven by the desire to redefine what today’s luxury looks and feels like, with experiences modern travelers want. With the launch of our Edge Series ships, Celebrity Edge and her brand-new sister ship Celebrity Apex, we tapped into a powerful ‘New Luxury’ culture - relevant, relaxed, design-focused and inclusive,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. “Today, nothing is more luxurious than when things are extra simple and extra special. We wanted to bring that big wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life for our guests.”

“After this challenging year, ease and peace of mind have become even more invaluable commodities,” said Peter Giorgi, vice president and chief marketing officer of Celebrity Cruises. “People want to spend more time being inspired, not getting lost in a myriad of booking options. Our new ‘Always Included’ approach makes the purchase process simple and incredible – one decision and the wonder of a Celebrity cruise awaits.”

“Always Included” becomes the new standard rate for the luxurious experience offered on Celebrity’s award-winning ships and includes:

Unlimited Drinks – Classic cocktails, wines by the glass, beer, sodas, specialty coffees and teas, juices and bottled water can be fully enjoyed without worrying about the tab. -

Unlimited WiFi – Free, always-on connection to social media, email and the web, allows guests to surf the net to their heart’s desire.

Daily Gratuities – Tips are taken care of allowing guests to relax and enjoy the warm service delivered by Celebrity’s exceptional crew, knowing that the crew behind the superior service are also being taken care of.

For guests who want even more luxurious simplicity, Celebrity is offering the option to upgrade to one of two packages:

ELEVATE takes the package to new heights with unlimited premium drinks and adds shore excursions up to $200 per person.

INDULGE includes everything in the ELEVATE package and adds to it with unlimited streaming Wi-Fi and up to an additional $200 per person in onboard credit to spend almost any way desired.

All guests in The Retreat – Celebrity’s unparalleled vacation concept featuring stunning all-suite accommodations and all-exclusive experiences including a private restaurant, lounge and sundeck, and a dedicated team of butlers and concierge staff - will receive the same amenities as the INDULGE package at no additional charge.

“Always Included” is the latest in a series of innovations available on Celebrity ships, including the recent transformation of the traditional cruise industry safety drill into a more personalized digital experience, called Muster 2.0, that can be accessed by guests from any smart device or on a stateroom TV and completed at the guest’s leisure prior to the ship’s departure, providing more time to relax and ease into a wonderful getaway.

“Always Included” is available for all new bookings on any of Celebrity’s cruise offerings, excluding Galapagos vacations. As part of its new approach, Celebrity has also re-invented its loyalty program to offer Captain’s Club members new perks and special onboard experiences.

To learn more about this new program, cruise itineraries, and planning a vacation, talk with your AAA Travel advisor. Together, you and your advisor will find the perfect vacation. Speak to your advisor by calling 1-800-222-7448.

CDC says "SAIL", yet some lines suspend through end of year

The CDC  has replaced the no cruising order with a series of requirements that cruise lines must undertake in order to certify that they can prevent the spread of Covid-19 on their ships. This framework includes a requirement that ships conduct test sailings prior to restarting commercial operations and present to the CDC a report showing that those sailings were successful in mitigating the risk of spread to the crew, passengers, and communities found along with a voyages itinerary. Completion and compliance determine whether that ship will receive a Conditional Sailing Certificate.

Cruise executives said last month that preparing a ship to sail again would take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, with the additional necessary protocols contributing to the longer duration. The simulated sailings will be the biggest barrier to any quick resumption of commercial cruising. Cruise lines will need to activate and bring a crew from various countries, quarantine and test them, provision and prepare ships for service and deploy them to U.S. ports, all before the simulated testings. This workflow could be duplicated multiple times if the ship fails to meet CDC approval.

This summer, the CDC asked the public to weigh in on how cruising should resume during the Covid-19 pandemic, and discovered a continued demand for sailing as long as new safety protocols were enforced. A large majority of respondents were in favor of requiring cruise lines to test passengers and crew prior to embarkation (74%), cruise lines reducing passenger and crew loads (90%), and the wearing of face masks by passengers (85%). 25% of respondents did not support a return to cruising until a vaccine is widely available and because of the current state of the pandemic.

Cruise lines are now formulating plans and next steps. Norwegian Cruise Line recently announced a decision to cancel cruises through Dec. 31 for their three major brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. Guests with an active reservation on a suspended cruise in December 2020. In the line's most recent release, the company noted that it will "continue to work in tandem with global government and public health authorities and its Healthy Sail expert panels to take all necessary measures to protect its guests, crew and the communities visited." AAA members should speak with AAA Travel Advisors. In addition to Future Cruise Credits and refunding options, members will additionally, a 10% off coupon will be automatically added to the guest's account which is valid for one year from the date of issue, and can be used for any Norwegian Cruise Line voyage embarking through 2022 and is combinable with any Future Cruise Credits and all future promotions at time of booking. Your AAA Travel advisor can help you understand the options available to you. To speak with your AAA Travel advisor, please call 1-800-222-7448.

Celebrity Cruise: Healthy Return To Sailing

Earlier this week, the Healthy Sail Panel's expert recommendations for revolutionizing health and safety in cruising were submitted to the CDC. The panel presented 74 recommendations across five core focus areas, a result of a months-long study and are not only meant to inform Royal Caribbean Groups' already exceptional sanitation standards — but a guide to be shared across the industry and the world.

The panel is a collaboration between Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and includes experts across public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity, hospitality, and maritime operations.

The five core focus areas are:

  1. Testing and Screening
  2. Sanitation and Ventilation
  3. Response and Contingency Planning
  4. Destination and Excursion Planning
  5. Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

The efforts of this panel, and the industry as a whole, have been placed before the CDC on the eve of a possible end to the suspension of cruise services in the United States. While ships have returned to European waterways, it is not yet clear if the US agency will lift the no sail band at the end of September.

While the ships remain docked, booking opportunity and exclusive cruise incentives remain strong. Cabin inventory is filling at a great pace, with some 2021 sailings near complete booking levels. AAA Travel is here to help you plan and find the right cruise. Our AAA Travel Advisors are staying up to date on the COVID impact on the cruise industry, including ports and itineraries opening and closing in response to the pandemic. One thing is certain; ships will sail again. Planning now will allow you to secure your vacation, and with easier rules around booking changes, the financial risks are minimal. To speak with you AAA Travel advisor, please call 1-800-222-7448.


America ready to return to cruising? Indicators say YES.

Europe has seen a steady, incremental return to both large and small cruise ships over the past month. Cruise lines are encouraged that success there can be replicated here in the United States. Cruise executives referenced the European success in discussions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an effort to lift the agency's No Sail Order.

MSC Cruises and Carnival's Italian brand, Costa Cruises, each resumed operations with one ship out of Italy, with strict health and safety protocols and at a lower capacity than normal. Both planned to launch second ships in the Mediterranean this month and next, Costa on Sept. 19.

Prior to the large-ship restart, the European-based lines Hurtigruten, SeaDream Yacht Club, and Ponant Cruises had all been operating in European waterways in June, now offering the industry months of learning and data collection.

Norwegian Cruise Line has gone on the record stating that the example being set in Europe should indicate to the CDC that, with the proper protocols in place, cruise lines should be able to resume service in the U.S., as well.

SeaDream has plans to bring its 100-passenger SeaDream I to Barbados in November, to launch seven-day cruises visiting only St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, which are open to Americans, with protocols similar to what they were in Norway. This includes passengers getting tested before flying into Barbados and again before boarding, and onboard social distancing. As of now, mask-wearing onboard will not be mandatory. SeaDream also said it is likely that the line will have to limit passengers to its own shore excursions.

A combination of testing, onboard protocols and what passengers do before and after a cruise is all part of a successful cruising restart. Whether Americans will be as willing to abide as closely to such rules as Europeans have is unknown. Mask adherence among Americans on ships would have to be compulsory and enforced.

While the US No Sail Order is currently set to expire at the end of September, it is widely expected to be extended. The question remains on how long the ban will last, and if the European success stories will impact the CDC's approach to opening our ports for departure.

As you plan your next cruise, you may have questions about safety, protocols and requirements. AAA Travel advisors are here to help. Leading the industry with our new SmartDepart Certification, these advisors are staying up to date on the impacts COVID-19 is having on the travel environment. To speak with you AAA Travel advisor, please call 1-800-222-7448.