Norwegian Cruise Line has repatriated 879 Filipino sailors who arrived on its ships last December in preparation for the resumption of cruises. The operation has cost Norwegian Cruise Line millions of dollars every month since December.

Sailor returning from Aruba

The 879 sailors were flown back to Manila after boarding the Norwegian Joy in Aruba on the Dutch Caribbean coast. The sailors landed at Manila International Airport in two separate groups.

According to a State Department press release, on 6. March 586 Filipino sailors from Aruba. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has arranged two charter flights for the first group of returnees. The second group of crew members arrived on the 8th. March 1, said DFA assistant secretary Sarah Louie Y. Arriola.

Norwegian joy without passengers of 15. March 2020. Before repatriation, the crew was subjected to a quarantine of at least 14 days imposed by the company.

After being quarantined on board and released by the CDC, the crew cannot return home to their families. The Philippine government insists the crew members will be quarantined for another two weeks in a hotel in the capital Manila.

crew members Picture courtesy of : Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Restart count in February

Norwegian Cruise Line made the difficult decision to send the crew home in January of this year. This after Norwegian Cruise Line delivered them to the ships in preparation for the return of cruises in February. Following the announcement of the CDC in late October, Norwegian Cruise Line began preparing its ships accordingly. However, the relaunch never happened.

Two ships, the Norwegian Joy and the Norwegian Encore, picked up crew members from different ships and repatriated them. The crew of the Norwegian Encore is currently en route to the Philippines, where they will arrive around the eleventh hour, according to the crew center website. April.

The technical guidance that the CDC will provide to cruise lines is still awaited by the companies. Without these guidelines, cruise companies cannot start their test cruises and therefore cannot be certified to operate cruises with paying customers. All in all, it was an expensive exercise for the cruise line.

In its year-end report, the airline said the failed restart was costing the NCL $15 million a month. These costs include staff turnover, vessel relocation and acquisition, implementation of new health and safety protocols, and marketing investments, including crew repatriation costs.

Photo credit: Robert V. Schwemmer /

Why doesn’t NCL keep the crew on board?

Of course, it’s hard to say why the cruise line made these decisions. We do not have access to privileged information. However, given the current situation, it is not hard to understand why the crew is returning home.

As noted above, the CDC has not yet provided the technical advice to cruise lines that it should have provided in December. The crew went to the ships in this room.

Cruise lines are still waiting; it makes no sense to keep crews on board with 90 days to go, said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Holdings.

Cruise lines must give the DCC 30 days’ notice of test trips. They must also apply for a conditional travel certificate 60 days before the start of the regular trip. The multiplicity of deadlines and procedures will only reinforce this phenomenon.

Also read : Norwegian Cruise Line is canceling all of its cruises for the summer.

Keeping the crew on board means keeping thousands of crew members on board, feeding them, burning fuel for air conditioning and electricity, paying salaries and providing medical care.

At the same time, crew members are not on duty and remain in their cabins most of the time. So financially and for the crew, it makes sense to send them home and try again later.

When will we see these crew members on board again? Predictions for May in the UK, June in the US and even later in Australia. However, recent forecasts have proven to be very volatile.

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