International cruise lines resuming operations earlier than expected

   June 12, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

The Norwegian passenger shipping company Hurtigruten is one of the first of the major cruise lines to resume service - on June 16th. Hurtigruten restarts operations with its cruiseferry fleet deployed on the Norwegian coastal route Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen. The first to depart is the ship MS Finnmarken (Otto Sverdrup). The vessel will carry only domestic travelers, with prices starting from USD 4982 per person (12-day itinerary).

Aranui Cruises (French Polynesia) restarts passenger shipping on July 18, following the country's decision to reopen borders to international tourists on July 15. As a mixed cargo-passenger ship, Aranui 5 is one of the few vessels that continued to sail during the pandemic, carrying cargo and essential goods to the Marquesas Islands.

The French cruise company Ponant plans to restart shipping in early July - subject to French port authorities and France's Government permissions. Once approval is given (including prefectorial, national and port authorities), Ponant Cruises should resume shipping as soon as July 4. The company will introduce stringent health screening prior to embarking passengers and goods as well as maintain strict hygiene measures onboard.

Hurtigruten also plans to restart Arctic voyages this summer in areas where travel restrictions are lifted and it is safe. Hurtigruten is the only Norwegian company that has continued to sail during the Coronavirus pandemic with two of its cruiseferries providing transport and shipping goods up and down Norway's coastline.

On European waterways, Nicko Cruises (Germany-based subsidiary of Mystic Cruises) took its first guests on Danube River on June 1. Nicko cruisers must wear face masks during the 13-day itinerary of MS NickoVision. The riverboat was sailing at half capacity to allow for social distancing.

Another German river cruise brand - A-Rosa - starts Douro River cruises (in Portugal) on June 17, followed by voyages on Rhine (June 19) and Danube (June 20). Itineraries in France (on Rhone and Seine rivers) are planned for early July.