Three more major cruise lines resume departures as cruising comeback ramps up

Jul 25, 2021

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Add Holland America, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line to the list of cruise brands that finally have restarted departures after a 16-month-long, COVID-19-related hiatus.

Holland America resumed operations on Saturday with a single ship sailing out of Seattle, and Princess and Norwegian are resuming operations today — also with single ships sailing out of Seattle and Piraeus, Greece, respectively.

The Holland America and Princess vessels restarting service — the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam and 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess — are sailing to Alaska. The Norwegian ship resuming operations — the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Jade — is sailing to the Greek Islands.

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For all three lines, these are the first departures from any port in the world since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic in March of 2020.

Like all major cruise lines around the world, Holland America, Princess and Norwegian shutdown operations in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stayed shut down as COVID-19 cases spiked around the world through 2020.

In restarting service, the three brands are joining a growing number of competitors including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line that already have resumed limited departures. The restarts have been occurring as countries around the world including the United States and Greece loosen restrictions for cruise travel.

Both Holland America and Princess plan to operate 10 departures out of Seattle through September with Nieuw Amsterdam and Majestic Princess, respectively. Norwegian Jade will continue to operate Greek Islands sailings into the fall.

All of the sailings only will be open to passengers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 — a policy that many (but not all) cruise lines have been implementing as they restart departures.

All three lines plan to add more vessels back into service slowly over the coming months. Holland America has 10 ships in its fleet in all, while Princess currently has a 14-ship fleet. Norwegian is the biggest of the three brands with 17 ships in its fleet.

In restarting sailings to Alaska, Holland America and Princess are following in the wake of Royal Caribbean, which on July 19 became the first big-ship cruise line to restart Alaska sailings since the end of the 2019 cruise season.

Related: Why visiting Alaska’s busiest cruise port, Juneau is a bit surreal right now

Royal Caribbean’s 2,143-passenger Serenade of the Seas is currently in the midst of operating the line’s first Alaska sailing, which also began in Seattle. The ship will return to Seattle on Monday after becoming the first big cruise ship to visit the Alaskan port of Sitka as well as the Alaskan ports of Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan in nearly two years.

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Featured image of (from left to right) Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald; Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz; and Holland America president Gus Antorcha in front of Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam at the Port of Seattle courtesy of Holland America. 

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