Large ocean-going cruise ships took their first tentative steps to resume service. Cruises departed this weekend aboard ships sailing from Germany and Taiwan marking the start of the first new cruises on large ships in over four months. Additional large cruise ships are expected to return to service in the coming days.
The first large cruise ship to sail was the Mein Schiff 2, which is operated by TUI Cruises a partnership between TUI and the Royal Caribbean Group. The 111,554 gross ton cruise ship sailed from Hamburg, Germany on July 24 for a three-day voyage in the Baltic that will return to Hamburg on July 27 without having stopped at any ports. TUI made available just over 1,700 berths, but reportedly the ship sailed with just over 1,200 passengers.
Two days later, on July 26, Genting Cruise Line’s Dream Cruises also returned to service with a four-day cruise aboard the 75,338 gross ton Explorer Dream sailing from Keelung,Taiwan. The cruise will remain entirely in local waters offering what Genting is calling Island Hopping Voyages that visit the Taiwanese islands of Peng Hu, Matsu Island, and Kinmen, as well as the port of Hualien located on the northeast coast of Taiwan.
Explorer Dream in Keelung, Taiwan preparing to begin cruising – courtesy Genting Cruise Lines
While the two cruise programs are operating in opposite parts of the globe, both cruise lines established similar restrictions. TUI’s Mein Schiff 2 normally accommodates 2,900 passengers but the line said it would be limiting capacity to 60 percent, only accepting bookings for cabins with balconies and suites. Onboard passengers are being encouraged to maintain social distancing, all food is being served as opposed to self-service buffets, and additional sanitation and health checks are being implemented.
Similarly, Genting also said it would limit capacity to between 1,200 and 1,800 passengers on the Explorer Dream, which normally carries up to 3,630 passengers. Dream Cruises reported that the initial cruise sold out two days after it began accepting bookings while the Taiwan media is reporting approximately 1,200 passengers were on board.
Both cruise lines also undertook extensive health protocols for the crew that is manning the ships. TUI’s crew underwent screening tests and a two-week isolation before the cruises began. Taiwan imposed stricter regulations with Dream Cruises agreeing to undertake several rounds of screening tests for the 588 crew members on the Explorer Dream. When the ship arrived in Keelung at the end of June, 538 crew members transferred to nine separate quarantine hotels for 14-days with weekly tests while the 50 crew remaining on the ship was tested and also isolated. The entire crew returned to the ship after testing negative for a further week of isolation and health protocol training.
Genting currently has 28 cruises scheduled through mid-October, while the Taiwanese officials said they would be observing the operation. Assuming that there are no increases in the virus numbers, Taiwan said it would consider permitting a second cruise ship in September and possibly lowering restrictions to permit international cruise ships to return to its ports for the first time since February 2020.
TUI plans to proceed with a phased resumption of cruise service. The Mein Schiff 1, had been scheduled to begin cruising from Kiel, Germany on July 31, but delays in returning the crew to the ship caused the first voyage to be rescheduled for August 3. TUI plans to restart 7-day cruises to Norway aboard both ships on August 7, although until the travel restrictions are further relaxed the ships will only cruise the Norwegian fjords. In September, TUI plans to resume operations of the Mein Schiff 3 with a 10-day cruise from Bremerhaven around the UK and Ireland along with cruises from German to the Baltic and Russia on Mein Schiff 4 and to Scandinavia on Mein Schiff 6. TUI is also showing itineraries for Mein Schiff Herz starting from Crete to Malta and Mein Schiff 5 from Malta to Trieste in September.
AIDAmar arriving in Rostock July 18, 2020 to prepare for cruises – courtesy AIDA Cruises
Also in Germany, Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises is preparing for a resumption of service. In mid-July, AIDA moved its ships the AIDAmar and AIDAblu to Rostock, Germany along with its AIDAperla in Hamburg to begin preparations. Charter flights are being organized to bring the crew to the ships. AIDA plans to start cruising on August 5 with the AIDAperla from Hamburg, followed by the AIDAmar from Rostock-Warnemunde on August 12, and the AIDAblu from Kiel on August 16. A total of six three- and four-day sea cruises without ports are scheduled for August.
AIDA, however, had a setback last week when ten of the crew members, believed to be on a charter flight from Manila, tested positive for COVID-19. They were placed in quarantine with German health authorities reporting so far that nine are asymptomatic and one has minor symptoms. All of the other crew members are in isolation with preparations continuing for the cruises. AIDA’s crew will all be retested and planned trial cruises to sea without passengers have been postponed, but AIDA reports that it plans to begin cruising as announced.
These large cruise ships join smaller cruise ships that previously resumed service sailing from Norway, Germany, and France. River cruising also resumed in Germany in May and China recently announced that its domestic river cruises will also resume.
The cruise industry will be closely watching these first cruises as a step to a broader resumption of operations.
Go to Source
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]
NOAA Fisheries announced Friday that it will cancel five out of its six large-scale research surveys in Alaskan waters this year due to COVID-19. The canceled surveys include the Aleutian Islands bottom trawl survey, the eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey, the northern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey, the Bering Sea pollock acoustics survey, and […]