The first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to resume sailing after 500 days has started sailing from Greece.
Norwegian Jade is company’s the first vessel to homeport in the Athens port of Piraeus.
The restart of the line’s 17-ship fleet will be followed on August 7 with Norwegian Encore returning to service from the US for an inaugural season of Alaska cruises from Seattle.
The fleetwide redeployment will continue in partnership with local governments. All passengers must be fully vaccinated to embark for voyages until October 31.
Norwegian Jade’s Greek islands itinerary runs until November including Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini.
The ship’s deployment in Athens is part of a long-term strategy to further increase NCL’s presence in Europe with plans to position nine ships in the region, including Norwegian Dawn, Epic, Escape, Getaway, Gem, Jade and Star scheduled to sail in Greece by 2023.
President and chief executive Harry Sommer said: “Welcoming our guests and crew on board has been one of the most memorable moments of my over 30-year career.
“We are excited to embark on the great cruise comeback with a brand-new itinerary and homeport for our brand, offering our guests an even greater selection of unique vacations at sea.
“Norwegian Jade’s first Greek Isles voyages sold out shortly after we made the announcement that we were on our way back.
“With such strong demand, we are glad to expand our offering in Greece with seven ships through 2023, providing our guests with a range of innovative vessels and itineraries to choose from.”
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis added: “We are overjoyed to welcome Norwegian Jade and her guests to Greece. The planned itineraries will offer unique experiences that combine our rich history, bustling culture and famous gastronomy.”