Cruises in Germany, Taiwan Set Sail With Social Distancing, Masks, and Isolation Wards
Cruising may be on hold in much of the world, but large ships in Germany and Taiwan are setting sail again, hoping to resume luxury vacations even as COVID-19 continues to remain a threat around the world.
A German ship, the TUI cruise ship “Mein Schiff 2” (which means “My Ship 2”) hit the water on Friday night, heading on a weekend cruise in the North Sea with no scheduled port stops, according to The Associated Press. The line limited capacity to 60 percent and set sail with 1,200 passengers (normal capacity is around 2,900 passengers).
To help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, passengers and crew must stay five feet away from each other or wear face masks, they will not be able to serve themselves at the buffet, and passengers had to undergo a temperature checks before boarding.
Fellow German cruise line AIDA plans to start sailing on Aug. 5, 2020 from Hamburg, the company has said, with “adapted capacities” in restaurants, bars, and theaters, as well as increased cleaning in cabins and public areas.
These ships aren’t the first to sail in Germany. The river cruise line, nicko cruises, set out on the Rhine River in June, implementing spaced-out dining, face shields, and arrows on the floor directing traffic in tight quarters.
U.S.-based river cruise line AmaWaterways also said it is resuming sailings in Germany, a company spokeswoman told Travel + Leisure. The cruise line’s AmaKristina will sail with local charter guests, requiring the crew to wear face coverings at all times and guests wear them when moving around the ship.
In Taiwan, hundreds of passengers (or about a third of the total capacity) boarded a Genting Hong Kong Explorer Dream ship over the weekend, headed to nearby islands, Reuters reported. The ship has 22 COVID-19 wards onboard to isolate people if they get sick.
“Due to the coronavirus, we can’t go abroad but I still feel like traveling, so I signed up for the island-hopping trip,” a passenger told the wire service. “I don’t worry about the epidemic too much, because I think it is pretty safe in Taiwan right now.”
While ships may be hitting the water around the world, it will be a while before cruises resume sailing in the U.S. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its “No-Sail Order” through the end of September.