German cruise lines forced to once again pause operations

   November 5, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

Germany’s renewed restrictions because of the current resurgence of COVID are forcing the cruise shipping companies to once again suspend voyages departing from German ports.

Both TUI Cruises (joint venture between TUI AG and RCG-Royal Caribbean Group) and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises suspended all departures from Germany. Both companies have been operating on short cruises since the summer months. TUI became the first to restart large ship cruises, but because of the restrictions were limited to only the North Sea. The company had hoped to include Scandinavian ports on its itineraries but instead operated cruises to nowhere (including to the Swedish archipelago and harbors close to Finland) leaving roundtrip from Germany.

Hapag-Lloyd was operating two smaller-sized. MS Europa (maximum passenger capacity 500) and Hanseatic Inspiration (max 230 pax) were making calls in Goteborg Sweden on their short voyages. Goteborg port officials reported that the cruise ships had been arriving with 100-150 passengers so that they stayed within the COVID restrictions.

MS Europa returned to port and was shifted to a lay-up berth. Hanseatic Inspiration had not sailed since mid-October.

However, both companies are continuing with international voyages. TUI is operating its Mein Schiff 6 with fly-cruises from Germany to Greece and they plan to continue the trips and start a similar fly-cruise program around the Canaries. They are also reflecting voyages from Dubai beginning at the end of 2020.

Mein Schiff 2 is now sailing to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) - scheduled to arrive on November 5 - to start preparations for the sailings. Similarly, while Hapag-Lloyd was laying up MS Europa, the sistership Europa 2 departed from Bremerhaven (on November 3) bound for Tenerife where the ship is scheduled to arrive on November 10. Like TUI, Hapag was approved by the Canary Islands' authorities to begin voyages around the islands.

Last week, AIDA Cruises also revealed that due to the German government restrictions it is pausing operations in November. The company is hoping to be able to resume sailings in December and while not one of the lines initially approved to sail in the Canaries has also repositioned a cruise ship to possibly commence cruising around the islands.