Families sailing aboard Norwegian Cruise Line this summer will be pleased to find all youth programs open and welcoming young cruisers. This announcement comes as many cruise lines are struggling with staffing issues, particularly as the busy summer season begins, but Norwegian Cruise Line is confident its youth staffing will be up to the challenge.
Youth Programs to Be Fully Open June 1
According to Travel Weekly, Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Harry Sommer discussed the reopening of the youth programs during a recent media chat aboard Pride of America.
Sommer indicated that the programs – which have been more limited and even closed on some ships – will be fully staffed and open by June 1.
Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)
At the moment, individual Norwegian ships have been reopening their youth programs as soon as possible. In some cases, capacity limits have been necessary to operate the programs, which may continue if needed.
“We’re trying to reduce the capacity a little because children under 5 are not vaccinated, but so far we’ve had no large Covid outbreaks on our ships and people seem to be comfortable,” Sommer said.
The Norwegian Cruise Line website Youth Programs FAQ does clarify that “youth program operations may vary by ship and sailing based on local regulations and continued return to service efforts.”
Norwegian’s Youth Programs
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a tiered program for young cruisers, with options for ages 3-17 years.
The “Splash Academy” program is for ages 3-12, but is further divided into Turtles (3-5 years), Seals (6-9 years), and Dolphins (10-12 years). Within each age bracket, youth counselors supervise age-appropriate activities. An activity and events agenda is available once families board their cruise.
Older teens (13-17 years) are part of the cruise line’s “Entourage” program, which includes activities, programming, and events suitable for more mature teens, including movie nights, video games, dance parties, scavenger hunts, and sports.
Aboard Norwegian Escape only, an even younger “Guppies” program is available for cruisers from 6 months to 3 years of age. Children must be registered to participate in youth programs.
Cruise Line Staffing Difficulties
It is good news indeed that Norwegian Cruise Line’s youth programs will be fully staffed for the busy summer season, when more families cruise because of school vacation periods.
Norwegian Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)
This announcement comes just days after Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Pride of America would be temporarily limiting passenger capacity due to staffing shortages that are impacting onboard service.
“We’ve limited occupancy between 1,100 and 1,200 guests,” Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said. “We’re not going to ever compromise the guest experience.”
At this time, the guest capacity limits only apply to Pride of America, as other ships in the NCL fleet are not suffering as many staffing difficulties. Many of those staffing challenges, however, affect the housekeeping and dining departments, rather than the youth programs.
To help alleviate the staffing problems, more restaurants have been closed aboard Pride of America or will have limited hours for the time being. As the situation improves, these limitations will be lifted and service will return to fully-staffed levels.