EXCLUSIVE: NYC to reopen cruise terminals in late September
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New York City plans to welcome cruise ships back to its Manhattan terminal from the end of September, amNewYork Metro has learned.
The city’s quasi-public economic development corporation will allow mega-ships to return to the Big Apple docks for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, according to the agency spokesperson. Chris Singleton.
“We are working with two cruise lines (Norwegian and Crystal) to resume departures from New York at the end of September,” Singleton told amNewYork Metro in an email.
The agency expects around 50 to 60 cruise departures by the end of the city’s current fiscal year on June 30, 2022, according to June 22 EDC Board meeting minutes.
The large ships will begin docking at EDC’s Manhattan cruise terminal at Piers 88 and 90, according to a presentation by the agency’s assistant vice president for asset management, Bianca Sosa, at the June meeting.
Pier 90 hosted the massive US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort at the start of the pandemic, supposedly to support overflowing city hospitals, but the ship sitting largely empty for his one month stay.
EDC also operates the Brooklyn cruise terminal next to the Atlantic Basin at Red Hook, but officials did not say when they planned to reopen that dock.
Cruise ships were a hotbed of coronavirus infections at the start of the pandemic, such as a notorious outbreak aboard the liner Diamond Princess in Japan in early 2020.
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No sail order on March 14, 2020 effectively banning cruise ship traffic to the United States.
In October, the CDC issued a follow-up guideline to gradually resume conditional cruises, and in May, health officials issued guidelines for operators, including test trips for ships before they cannot take passengers on board again.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was to launch such a test cruise across Cape Liberty Harbor in Bayonne, New Jersey on Sunday August 22, and eagle-eyed New Yorkers spotted the ship at Garden State Harbor as early as Thursday August 19.
Giant cruise ships are back in the New York City area, for better or for worse. Yesterday evening around 8 p.m., the Oasis of the Seas had moved up the river slightly after leaving its berth at “Cape Liberty” (Bayonne) and had briefly laid down off Hoboken to enjoy the view (? ). pic.twitter.com/rlidIvAeNm
– Doug (@newdougman) August 19, 2021
EDC plans to work with two lines, Norwegian and Crystal, on its first crossings out of town next month, according to Singleton. The two operators will reach an agreement with city and state authorities to follow CDC guidelines.
Norwegian plans to set sail for maiden voyage from New York on September 26 in Bermuda, according to a spokesperson. Crystal Cruises did not respond to a request for comment at press time, but its first scheduled departure from the city is scheduled for November 26 towards the Bahamas.
All passengers and crew will need to be fully vaccinated and liners will regularly test pre-travel passengers and crew, according to EDC.
Terminal protocols include masking, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, increased air filtration and hand sanitizer stations, according to city officials.
Upcoming crossings also depend on port protocols at destinations like Bermuda and Canada, according to the June presentation.
A Florida federal judge ruled earlier this month that Norwegian can require passengers to prove they were injected with COVID-19 before boarding, NPR reported.
The pandemic break cost Norway more than $ 6 billion at the time, according to court documents cited in the report.