International cruise shipping restarts in Japan after ~3-year COVID-related pause

   December 17, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

International cruise shipping restarted in Japan on Thursday, December 15th, after an almost 3-year suspension due to the COVID crisis. Operations officially started with a cruise ship owned by Mitsui OSK setting sail for the Indian Ocean out of Port Yokohama (Tokyo).

Japanese tourism ministry announced that MS Nippon Maru had become the first cruise liner to start a voyage out of Japan since November 2022 when Japan allowed international passenger ships to restart operations in the country.

The suspension was imposed after mass infections on Diamond Princess caused thousands to be quarantined in Yokohama back in February 2020, leaving 13 of the 700+ infected crew and guests dead.

The Nippon Maru operator said it had implemented a slew of anti-COVID measures, including requiring travelers to take a PCR test before boarding, having their temperatures checked daily, as well as keeping tabs on close contacts among them.

At the send-off at Yokohama's Osambashi Pier, Yusuke Ueno, the company's president, said they would be able to provide passengers with a special experience to enjoy.

The cruise ship, whose voyage features stops at Mauritius and Madagascar, is scheduled to return to Yokohama on January 31st.

Nippon Maru cruise ship

From March, international cruise ships operated by foreign companies are expected to dock at Japanese ports, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.