- The comeback of cruising isn’t going to be as easy as some people thought.
- The 535-passenger Roald Amundsen vessel belonging to cruise company Hurtigruten recently resumed its operations two weeks earlier.
- It offered seven-night sailings out of Tromsø, Norway, to the wildlife-filled Svalbard archipelago. Unfortunately, on its second voyage when crew members began falling ill.
- Daniel Skjeldam, the CEO of Norwegian expedition cruise company Hurtigruten offered apologies on behalf of the company.
- Facing a firestorm of criticism in Norway over its handling of the incident, the line on Monday canceled sailings on all three ships that it recently brought back into service.
A recent news published in The Points Guy reveals that how dangerous is cruise ship operation during Covid – 19 outbreak. As one of the cruise ship lines that operated its 535-passenger Roald Amundsen cruise had witnessed the impact of coronavirus with its crew members falling ill at its second voyage.
The vessel, the 535-passenger Roald Amundsen, had just resumed operations two weeks earlier, offering seven-night sailings out of Tromsø, Norway, to the wildlife-filled Svalbard archipelago. It was only on its second voyage when crew members began falling ill.
Cruise operations suspended
“The only responsible choice is to suspend all expedition sailings until we are absolutely confident we can carry out our operations in line with all requirements from the authorities and with the even stricter requirements we have set for ourselves,” Skjeldam said.
As a result, the Norway’s health minister has banned ships with more than 100 people on board from visiting Norwegian ports for at least the next 14 days.
New health and safety measures of no help
The widespread outbreak on the Roald Amundsen — more than 23% of crew have tested positive — occurred despite the implementation of a wide range of new health and safety measures.
The measures included enhanced cleaning throughout the ship, added medical screenings for passengers and crew, and an end to buffets.
The vessel also was operating at a sharply reduced capacity, more than 50% below normal, to ensure social distancing.
Hurtigruten incident raises dobuts
42 passengers and crew had been tested positive in the Roald Amundsen cruise line.
This incident has raised questions about the growing efforts that are being taken to bring back the cruising operations in some parts of the world.
In yet another incident, the French Polynesia-based, 332-passenger Paul Gauguin returned early to its home port of Papeete, Tahiti, after an American woman on board tested positive for covid 19.
“It’s too soon to tell,” told Driscoll, a longtime industry watcher Mike Driscoll, editor of Cruise Week when asked if the weekend’s incidents would slow down the comeback plans at other lines. “But it’s definitely a disappointment.”
“Some of the largest cruise sellers in the country were looking at (the comeback of) Paul Gauguin as being of some importance,” Driscoll told TPG.
Both Hurtigruten and Paul Gauguin Cruises now are facing withering criticism for restarting operations too quickly from observers both within and outside the cruise industry.
“While I understand the economics, it is unfortunate that a few cruise lines appear to have ignored science in an attempt to resume service too quickly,” one longtime cruise industry executive, John Delaney, wrote on his social media accounts early Monday.
“Everyone wants cruises to come back, but rushing things to chase revenue and ignoring the science will continue to hurt our industry and make the road to recovery more difficult,” Delaney wrote at Linkedin.
Other cruise companies to start operation
Hurtigruten and Paul Gauguin aren’t the only lines that have resumed or plan to soon resume sailings.
Paul Gauguin’s sister company, Ponant, recently resumed cruises in several places in Europe including along the French coast, and Germany’s TUI Cruises restarted limited sailings out of Germany just last week.
Germany’s Aida Cruises had planned to start limited cruising out of Germany on Wednesday but has postponed the trips.
Several river cruise lines in Europe also have resumed operations. Over the weekend, a small U.S. cruise resumed operations for the first time.
“The focus by the major cruise companies is on 2021 at this point, with an emphasis on a safe return to cruising,” Driscoll said.
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Source: The Points Guy