Less than two weeks after celebrating the return of its German-focused AIDA cruise line with trips sailing the Italian coast, Carnival Corporation has announced it is pausing the cruise line’s trips during November.
“As a result of Germany implementing far-reaching measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, AIDA Cruises today announced it will temporarily pause its cruises for November, cancelling all voyages planned between Oct. 31 and Nov. 30,” the company said in a statement.
“This follows the Federal Government of Germany’s Oct. 28 decision to impose further restrictions on public life and travel to limit the spread of COVID-19, which AIDA Cruises fully supports.”
Starting next week, Germany will impose new restrictions, including on bars and restaurants. As well, people are also advised to stay home and avoid travel, according to CNN.
While AIDA is sailing in Italy, it is focused on the German market. Obviously, cruising would go against the advice of the government to avoid travel and limit interactions with others. The national restrictions are set to be re-evaluated in two weeks.
In the middle of October, AIDA started back with a single ship — AIDAblu — as it looked to slowly ramp up following roughly seven months of suspension. And while the cruise line appears to have started back successfully, the number of COVID cases in Europe has soared in recent weeks.
For instance, Germany peaked around 6,000 daily reported cases in March. After months of low levels, COVID has now spiked again. This time the daily average sits around 12,500 cases. Italy peaked around 5,500 daily cases in March as well. Now that average is near 20,000 cases a day.
Despite the high number of cases, so far multiple cruise lines have returned to sailing, and the number of cases onboard has seemingly been minimal.
Costa Cruises — another brand under Carnival Corporation — did reportedly have several cases aboard the Costa Diameda. In this instance, the policies put on cruises to control any cases on board seem to have worked successfully. A handful of cases were found via testing, with contact tracing on board finding another. Passengers were then tested and allowed to debark to return home instead of the onboard quarantines like we saw at the start of the pandemic.
Cruise lines have of course implemented numerous new procedures to return to sailing safely. Among the most important is testing of passengers and crew before boarding. While that appears to be instrumental in keeping the number of cases limited, with the widespread nature of the virus, even cruise executives admit that there will be some cases on ships.
During this suspension for AIDA, Carnival Corporation says it “will continue to observe its enhanced protocols to protect the health of guests and will closely monitor the further development of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the current “No Sail Order” on cruise ships in the United States is set to expire at the end of October. There is question as to if it will be lifted given the current spike in virus cases around the world.