Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2021. 3:21 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations (MTDR) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced today that the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) resumed port calls to Harvest Caye in Southern Belize today.
The MTDR said that the Norwegian Gem departed Port Miami on its seven-night Caribbean cruise this past Saturday with 1,262 passengers and 1,067 crew onboard, visiting Belize, as well as Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. The Ministry added that the call today marks the first cruise ship visit to the southern port since the pandemic shut down cruse tourism back in 2020.
“The return of NCL is a very important step in Belize’s ongoing efforts to rebuild the tourism sector and boost economic activity, as countless Belizeans and businesses have returned to work. Both the Government of Belize and NCL have worked tirelessly to ensure that the guest experience and work environment are aligned to the highest international bio-safety standards,” the MTDR said. “This includes a robust system of sanitization, health screening, and customer care at the port, the island destination, and on the tours and attractions frequented by the cruise guests.”
The health and safety protocols being employed to ensure the safe resumption of cruise tourism were developed by the government with its partners through the Cruise Tourism Task Force. There to welcome the first guests to Harvest Caye since last year were Nicole Solano, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism, Belize Tourism Board, and staff from the Belize Tourism Board and Jose Negron, Vice President of Private Island Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
“Belize is home to Harvest Caye and we’re thrilled to welcome our guests back for their long-awaited cruise vacations,” said Harry Sommer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “I’ve been impressed and proud of how our global team and destination partners such as the Belize Tourism Board have come together to safely bring back cruising, an over $55 billion-dollar industry that positively impacts communities around the world.”
NCL’s return follows the return of Carnival Cruise Line back in July and stands as a testament to the work being done to assist Belize’s tourism sector recover from the damage caused by the global pandemic since last year.
NCL notes that it has resumed operations with its new SailSAFETM health and safety program, which at its cornerstone, includes that all crew and guests must be fully vaccinated to embark for voyages through Dec. 31, 2021. NCL also said stresses that it is the only cruise line in Miami and the state of Florida to offer cruises where 100 percent of the guests and crew are fully vaccinated.
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