• TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Dismiss
Small Greek Line Variety Cruises to Add Another Ship For Eastern Med Sailings
Small Greek Line Variety Cruises to Add Another Ship For Eastern Med Sailings
Norwegian Cruise News: Norwegian Jade Sets Sail From Athens, Marking Line's Return; New Homeport Announced
Norwegian Jade Return to Service in Greece (Photo/Adam Coulter)

Norwegian Cruise News: Norwegian Jade Sets Sail From Athens, Marking Line's Return; New Homeport Announced

Norwegian Cruise News: Norwegian Jade Sets Sail From Athens, Marking Line's Return; New Homeport Announced
Norwegian Jade Return to Service in Greece (Photo/Adam Coulter)

July 25, 2021

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

(4 p.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Jade set sail from the port of Piraeus at a little after 11 p.m. local time, making it the first of the NCL fleet to resume cruising in 16 months.

The 2,402-passenger ship is sailing at almost 75 percent occupancy with around 1,800 fully vaccinated passengers on a seven-night Greek islands cruise. EU health protocols mandate mask wearing throughout the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line's resumption after 500 days on pause is a significant moment as it marks the last of the major cruise lines to restart, after MSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America Line and Princess, the latter two which restarted yesterday.

Norwegian Jade has just returned from a four-night sailing for 903 friends, family and employees, including NCL Brand CEO and President, Harry Sommer.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Harry Sommer in Athens (Photo/Adam Coulter)

"This is a really, really special occasion for us," said Sommer, speaking at an exclusive pre-cruise event in Athens.

Featured Videos

Our Favorite Things Aboard Viking Venus

Our Favorite Things Aboard Viking Venus

Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to the Seas

Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to the Seas

Silversea's New S.A.L.T. Program

Silversea's New S.A.L.T. Program

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials

NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months

NCL's Restart: What It's Like On The First Norwegian Cruise Ship Back in 16 Months

Cruise Critic and JJ Cruise : Our Experience Onboard Celebrity Edge (June 2021)

Cruise Critic and JJ Cruise : Our Experience Onboard Celebrity Edge (June 2021)

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

LIVE Q&A: Cruise Critic and Emma Cruises Chat About All Things Cruise

LIVE Q&A: Cruise Critic and Emma Cruises Chat About All Things Cruise

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Cruise Executives Wish Cruise Critic a Happy 25th Anniversary

Cruise Executives Wish Cruise Critic a Happy 25th Anniversary

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Q&A with Celebrity Cruises' Captain Kate McCue (2021)

Q&A with Celebrity Cruises' Captain Kate McCue (2021)

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Cruise Critic | EatSleepCruise: What's It Like Onboard Celebrity Edge?

Cruise Critic | EatSleepCruise: What's It Like Onboard Celebrity Edge?

‘Top Chef’ Winner Kristen Kish Joins Holland America Line’s Award-winning Culinary Council

‘Top Chef’ Winner Kristen Kish Joins Holland America Line’s Award-winning Culinary Council

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

LIVE From MSC Virtuosa! Embarkation, the Buffet, COVID Protocols and MORE!

LIVE From MSC Virtuosa! Embarkation, the Buffet, COVID Protocols and MORE!

CRUISE NEWS Countdown! This Week's Top 5 Stories

CRUISE NEWS Countdown! This Week's Top 5 Stories

NEWS: CDC Loosens Mask Restrictions; Norwegian Reveals NEW Ship Class

NEWS: CDC Loosens Mask Restrictions; Norwegian Reveals NEW Ship Class

NEWS: What Does the Latest CDC Guidance Mean? We Explain, Cruisers & Cruise Lines React

NEWS: What Does the Latest CDC Guidance Mean? We Explain, Cruisers & Cruise Lines React

Alaska 2021: Inside Passage Businesses Talk About A Devastating Season Without Cruise Tourists

Alaska 2021: Inside Passage Businesses Talk About A Devastating Season Without Cruise Tourists

CRUISE NEWS: Two Brand-New Cruise Ships From Disney And Celebrity Revealed, See Photos!

CRUISE NEWS: Two Brand-New Cruise Ships From Disney And Celebrity Revealed, See Photos!

BREAKING NEWS: CDC Says Cruises From the U.S. Could Start by "Mid-July"

BREAKING NEWS: CDC Says Cruises From the U.S. Could Start by "Mid-July"

CRUISE NEWS: Two States Sue CDC Over Cruise Restart, New MSC Virtuosa Photos & More

CRUISE NEWS: Two States Sue CDC Over Cruise Restart, New MSC Virtuosa Photos & More

CRUISE NEWS: The CDC Battle Over Cruise Continues!

CRUISE NEWS: The CDC Battle Over Cruise Continues!

LIVE Interview with Frank Del Rio, NCLH President and CEO, About Company's "Safe to Sail" Campaign

LIVE Interview with Frank Del Rio, NCLH President and CEO, About Company's "Safe to Sail" Campaign

NEWS: Norwegian Makes HUGE Waves with Restart Plans (Bonus! Live From an Alaska Cruise)

NEWS: Norwegian Makes HUGE Waves with Restart Plans (Bonus! Live From an Alaska Cruise)

Where Can You Cruise To -- And From -- In Summer 2021?

Where Can You Cruise To -- And From -- In Summer 2021?

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

CRUISE NEWS: The CDC's Silence And Where Vaccinated Passengers Can Sail in 2021 -- VIDEO

CRUISE NEWS: The CDC's Silence And Where Vaccinated Passengers Can Sail in 2021 -- VIDEO

BONUS NEWS! Royal Caribbean, Celebrity to Resume Cruising in June

BONUS NEWS! Royal Caribbean, Celebrity to Resume Cruising in June

BREAKING: A Big Cruise Line Says Guests Need the Jab, Another Announces U.K. Return

BREAKING: A Big Cruise Line Says Guests Need the Jab, Another Announces U.K. Return

NEWS: This Cruise Line is Returning to Cruise SOON!

NEWS: This Cruise Line is Returning to Cruise SOON!

Odyssey of the Seas' Debut in Israel, and Where Royal Caribbean Might Restart Next

Odyssey of the Seas' Debut in Israel, and Where Royal Caribbean Might Restart Next

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Cruise Restart, Rising Cruise Prices & The Vaccine's Impact On Bookings (Video)

Cruise Restart, Rising Cruise Prices & The Vaccine's Impact On Bookings (Video)

Exciting Disney Cruise News, More Vaccine Mandates & MSC Seashore Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

Exciting Disney Cruise News, More Vaccine Mandates & MSC Seashore Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

Why Lines Aren't Canceling Alaska Cruises, Robot News and More

Why Lines Aren't Canceling Alaska Cruises, Robot News and More

CDC Mask Mandate, Cruise Vaccine News and Canada's Cruise Ban Through 2022

CDC Mask Mandate, Cruise Vaccine News and Canada's Cruise Ban Through 2022

Cruisers and Cruise Lines Talk Vaccines, Big Azamara News and More

Cruisers and Cruise Lines Talk Vaccines, Big Azamara News and More

Royal Caribbean Group Sells Popular Cruise Line, Mandatory Vaccines and More

Royal Caribbean Group Sells Popular Cruise Line, Mandatory Vaccines and More

Exciting Cruise News From Carnival Corp., Pause Extensions & More

Exciting Cruise News From Carnival Corp., Pause Extensions & More

Exciting New Ships in 2021 - This Week in Cruise News

Exciting New Ships in 2021 - This Week in Cruise News

Rudi Sodamin Makes A Special, Thanksgiving-themed "Food Faces" Video For Cruise Critic

Rudi Sodamin Makes A Special, Thanksgiving-themed "Food Faces" Video For Cruise Critic

Coin Ceremony For Celebrity Cruises' New Ship, Celebrity Beyond

Coin Ceremony For Celebrity Cruises' New Ship, Celebrity Beyond

Cruising In Maine During COVID-19, On the Only Ship Sailing in the U.S.

Cruising In Maine During COVID-19, On the Only Ship Sailing in the U.S.

Former Cruise Ship Captain Offers "Ghost Tours" of Empty Cruise Liners in South England

Former Cruise Ship Captain Offers "Ghost Tours" of Empty Cruise Liners in South England

Variety Cruises' Galileo, The First Eastern Mediterranean Cruise In The COVID Era

Variety Cruises' Galileo, The First Eastern Mediterranean Cruise In The COVID Era

Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Drone Footage Of MSC Grandiosa Docked In Genoa For First Sailing Since The COVID-19 Pandemic

Drone Footage Of MSC Grandiosa Docked In Genoa For First Sailing Since The COVID-19 Pandemic

First Look At Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady

First Look At Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady

Bolt - Top Deck Roller-Coaster at Sea on Carnival Mardi Gras

Bolt - Top Deck Roller-Coaster at Sea on Carnival Mardi Gras

Silver Cove At Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay

Silver Cove At Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay

Norwegian Encore - Hull Art Reveal - Artist Eduardo Arranz Bravo

Norwegian Encore - Hull Art Reveal - Artist Eduardo Arranz Bravo

Disney Cruise Line Announces Disney Wish

Disney Cruise Line Announces Disney Wish

Virgin Voyages Unveils Beach Club And Entertainment

Virgin Voyages Unveils Beach Club And Entertainment

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection To Debut In 2020

Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection To Debut In 2020

Virgin Voyages Reveals Suite Design New Cruise Ship

Virgin Voyages Reveals Suite Design New Cruise Ship

Celebrity Edge Sneak Peek: Why You Should Be Excited About Celebrity Cruises' Newest Ship

Celebrity Edge Sneak Peek: Why You Should Be Excited About Celebrity Cruises' Newest Ship

Celebrity Edge Shipyard Hyperlapse Tour

Celebrity Edge Shipyard Hyperlapse Tour

Marella Cruises Cast Members Rehearse New Show Debut

Marella Cruises Cast Members Rehearse New Show Debut

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Norwegian Bliss Virtual Tour - Why You Should Be Excited About Norwegian's Newest Ship

Norwegian Bliss Virtual Tour - Why You Should Be Excited About Norwegian's Newest Ship

Shaquille "Shaq" O'neal Named Chief Fun Officer Of Carnival Cruise Line

Shaquille "Shaq" O'neal Named Chief Fun Officer Of Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line's "Choose Fun" Commercial

Carnival Cruise Line's "Choose Fun" Commercial

Live From MSC Seaside:  A Cruise Ship Designed For The Outdoors

Live From MSC Seaside: A Cruise Ship Designed For The Outdoors

Norwegian Breakaway Photo Tour

Norwegian Breakaway Photo Tour

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

The Waterfront On Norwegian Cruise Line - Video

The Waterfront On Norwegian Cruise Line - Video

Norwegian Getaway Photo Tour

Norwegian Getaway Photo Tour

Inside Look: The Haven On Norwegian Cruise Line

Inside Look: The Haven On Norwegian Cruise Line

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Norwegian Escape's Ropes Course - Are You Brave Enough?

Norwegian Escape's Ropes Course - Are You Brave Enough?

Inside Look at Norwegian Sky In Cuba

Inside Look at Norwegian Sky In Cuba

Norwegian Escape Attractions - 7 Free Things You Have To Try - Video Tour

Norwegian Escape Attractions - 7 Free Things You Have To Try - Video Tour

4 Exclusive Spots On Norwegian Escape - Video Tour

4 Exclusive Spots On Norwegian Escape - Video Tour

Norwegian Escape Photo Tour

Norwegian Escape Photo Tour

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

Norwegian Breakaway Video Tour (2013)

Norwegian Breakaway Video Tour (2013)

Royal Rendezvous: 3 Cunard Queens Arrive In Southampton

Royal Rendezvous: 3 Cunard Queens Arrive In Southampton

Celebrity Silhouette's Conveyance (2011)

Celebrity Silhouette's Conveyance (2011)

"This marks the start of what we call our "Great Cruise Comeback". I look back to last March and I don't think any of us thought it would last quite this long.

"But we took the time, it's been about 500 days from when we paused cruising on March 13, 2020 to tomorrow.

"We took the time to be smart, we didn't just sit and lament our situation, we doubled down on trying to create a fantastic guest experience."

Sommer said the stringent protocols -- 100 percent vaccination, pre-cruise testing, a proof of a negative PCR and end-of-cruise testing -- was designed to make a Norwegian vessel "the safest place on earth".

However, he added: "I can't guarantee there won't be a COVID case onboard, in fact given how things are today, I'm pretty sure there will be a COVID case onboard from time to time.

"What I can guarantee is there won't be widespread outbreaks, everyone will be safe and that if the occasional case happens it will likely be an asymptomatic case and life will continue onboard as normal."

Sommer also emphasised that NCL would cover the hotel and medical costs of all guests, regardless of their insurance. He said, this was a deliberate move, designed to encourage passengers to feel comfortable in telling crew if they feel unwell, rather than worrying about bills.

New Homeport Announced

COVID-19 Safety Protocols in Athens (Photo/Adam Coulter)

He also took time to thank the Greek government for their help in the resumption of cruising:

"Greece took a stand that they were going to open up on a certain date and unlike other countries in the world, they opened up on the date they said they were going to."

And in an announcement which even Sommer was not expecting, Kevin Bubolz, managing director Continental Europe, revealed that Norwegian Getaway would be based in a brand new homeport for NCL -- Katakolon (Olympia) starting September 17, 2021.

The announcement marks the first time NCL has added a secondary homeport in Greece, as part of its ongoing exploration of new itinerary options and is a testament to its ongoing partnership with the Greek government.

"They have been a fantastic partner and Greece is our number one destination. When we have nine ships in Europe, seven of those nine visit the Greek isles.

Sommer described the amount of bookings the line had taken since it announced its restart in April as "astonishing", with Jade the best seller worldwide.

Sommer added: "Cruising is back, cruising is great, cruising is safe and cruising is fun. Bottom line -- cruising restarts for NCL tomorrow. We couldn't be more thrilled.

"The Great Cruise Comeback continues," he concluded.

Passengers on Jade are made up of predominantly Americans, with no children (as they cannot be vaccinated yet), and a handful of other mainly European nationalities.

NCL's restart is a little slower than the rest of the lines, with Norwegian Encore the next to resume cruising in Alaska from August 1; followed by Norwegian Gem from Miami and then Norwegian Epic from Barcelona in early September and Getaway from Katakolon, with the last of the fleet -- Norwegian Jewel -- not resuming until April next year.

How was this article?

Featured News

1
With Racetrack, Slides and More, New Norwegian Prima Cruise Ship to Homeport in Galveston for 2023-2024 Season
5
Virgin Voyages is Coming to Miami: Why We Can't Wait to Sail on This New Cruise Line
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.