German cruise lines to resume cruising from JULY

The first of the German cruise lines scheduled to resume service is TUI Cruises with its Mein Schiff brand, which is a joint venture between TUI and the Royal Caribbean Group. Saying that they would be just in time for the summer holiday season, the 111,500 gross ton Mein Schiff 2 will return to service on July 24, sailing from Hamburg on short three and four-day cruises into the North Sea without ports. Among the steps that TUI announced for its cruises, it will limit capacity to 60 percent of the ship’s normal 2,900 passengers and it will only be taking bookings for balcony cabins and suites. Cabins will be disinfected before guests arrive and in the pool area lounge chairs will be positioned two meters from each other. Working with medical experts, TUI Cruises has also developed a 10-point plan for resuming cruise operations, The Maritime Executive reported.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also announced plans to return two of its cruise ships to service. The expedition cruise ship Hanseatic Inspiration will start sailing on July 31 with a five-day cruise from Hamburg around Denmark again only at sea. The small, luxury cruise ship Europa 2 will resume sailing on August 2 operating an eight-day cruise from Hamburg to the Norwegian fjords. Working with the German authorities, Hapag says that it has agreed to only welcome guests who are residents in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland at this time and that capacity on the ships will be reduced by 40 percent to 150 to 300 passengers, The Maritime Executive wrote.

German line AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., announced Thursday that three of its ships would resume operations in August, ending a coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus that began in March. Unsurprisingly, sailing will look a little different, with new health and hygiene protocols but no port calls – at least not at first, USA Today reported.

“We are taking a measured approach with a few initial ships within our AIDA line in Germany,” Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corp. spokesperson, told USA TODAY. “We have been leveraging medical and science advisors, but this will helps us gain additional insight with the initial protocols being put in place.”

AIDA’s first ship to hit the high seas once again will be its AIDAperla, which will sail from Hamburg on Aug. 5, according to a release shared by Frizzell. A week after AIDAperla makes her return, AIDAmar will sail from the Baltic port of Warnemünde near Rostock on Aug. 12. AIDAblu will follow on Aug. 16, sailing from Kiel. Bookings for the three sailings were opened to the public on Thursday. To ensure passengers’ onboard safety, AIDA worked with authorities to create new health standards including regional and national government authorities in Germany, that country’s public health institute and the World Health Organization, according to USA Today.

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