NORFOLK, Virginia (Wavy) – A familiar spectacle returns to the Elizabeth River this year as cruise ships make their way to Hampton Roads after a pause in work due to a pandemic.
The Norwegian Cruise Lines, 1,000 feet long Norwegian Getaway, docked at Nauticus on Sunday afternoon and sailed to the Bahamas on Sunday night.
Nauticus Director of Development and Marketing Ren West says this return has been long awaited.
“When the pandemic came, the cruises stopped,” she said. “It’s huge for the city. We are very happy that cruise operations are moving again and we are just happy to welcome passengers to our big city. ”
The Getaway has limited capacity, and the cruise liner has introduced a vaccine requirement for all passengers, suggesting that a full return to normal life on the high seas is not on the horizon.
“This ship, which we will soon see docking here in Norfolk, will traditionally have 4,000 passengers, but they limit the number of guests, so we will see that today about 2,000 passengers fly through Norfolk,” she said.
It may be the first ship to arrive this season, but they expect much more ships to arrive during the 2022 cruise season, which, according to West, could seriously help the local economy.
“We assume it’s 20 to 25 plus cruise ships,” she said. “It’s a huge economic factor for the city, and they say that on average each cruise passenger will spend $ 125 in the city and throughout Hampton Roads.”
Nauticus also expects to take in more than 150,000 passengers and 62,000 crew members in 2022.
Since it took passengers a while to enjoy the city of Mermaids before embarking on a major trip to the Bahamas, West says they are happy to just welcome people back.
“What needed to be closed last year for a pandemic and then slowly opened up is kind of the last piece of the puzzle to welcome everyone on our campus,” she said.
Before boarding, check with your cruise liner for their recommendations on COVID-19.