Germany announces strategy to relaunch cruise tourism

The global cruise industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus and the accompanying measures and restrictions. Having decreasing numbers of reported corona infections for weeks, Germany dares a first step towards relaunching cruise tourism. The city of Hamburg, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Germany, and many local authorities have agreed on common guidelines setting the course for the comeback of cruises in Germany. CLIA is the world’s largest association representing the global cruise industry.

According to the press release on 9 July 2020, the cruise business will be opened to the public in three phases:

1st phase:

Some ships – significantly less than usual - are allowed to leave the ports of Hamburg, Rostock, Kiel, or Bremerhaven for passenger trips. The cruise liners may carry guests from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland only. After a couple of days at sea, the passenger ships will return to their start port. The cruise trips will last between 3 to 7 days in total. There will be no shore leaves in between.

2nd phase:

The 2nd phase regulates the launch of cruise trips, which, depending on the local regulations for cruise ships, allow for stops at foreign ports. A close collaboration between the shipping companies and the port authorities is needed to comply with the existing hygiene regulations on board and during shore leaves.

3rd phase:

The last phase characterises a cruise industry close to the situation before the coronavirus breakout. Shipping companies return to their usual business habits in compliance with hygiene and health regulations on board and the ones being in place at the ports on the route.

In collaboration with health authorities and medical experts, the shipping companies

have drawn up detailed measures to adapt the regulations to each individual ship’s specifics. These measures are checked by the local authorities, in particular by the medical services, to ensure that the requirements of the guidelines are met.

Key points of the health and safety concepts are introducing comprehensive preventive measures for the time before, during, and after the trip, including avoidance of contact through extensive distance rules, guidance systems on board, and additional hygiene and safety measures). Furthermore, defined medical care processes and additional equipment (including a supply of COVID -19 rapid tests) need to be in place. Emergency plans and a comprehensive training and safety program for the crew are also part of the health and safety concept.

With this guiding strategy, Germany is among the first countries to slightly pave the way to a realistic comeback of cruise tourism.

The shipping company TUI already announced to offer phase 1 cruise trips on Mein Schiff 2 in late July. Major shipping company AIDA will slowly start their business again in August with short trips on cruise liners AIDAperla, AIDAmar, and AIDAblu.

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