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Marek Grzybowski write to ” Blue Economy ” Passenger ships begin their cruises to the North Sea and Baltic ports


eBlue_economy_Marek Grzybowski

By : Marek Grzybowski

German shipowners have announced that they are starting the season. The ships will drop their hawsers and begin their voyages.

AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and TUI Cruises have announced that they are ready to start cruises from European ports. The first ships will start sailing in August. AIDA invites tourists on 3-week cruises.

AIDA, owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. starts cruises with passengers from 5 August. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced that MS Europa will sail to Great Britain on August 18. The shipowner offers a cruise to the Baltic Sea with a call to Gdańsk in September. TUI Cruises invites guests to a 3-day “Blaue Reisen” with booking on July 31 this year.

The ships will depart from Hamburg, Warnemünde or Kiel. The offer is mainly aimed at German passengers. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is also very actively promoting itself on the British market.

The shipowner offers sea trips for English-speaking tourists. Cruises lasting several days can be taken aboard the luxury flagship MS Europa 2. A 19-day cruise from Hamburg to Iceland and Greenland in September will be possible on board the new luxury ship MS Hanseatic Inspiration.

Norway announced the opening of the borders from June 15, 2020. Color Line immediately launched sea voyages between Hirtshals-Kristiansand and Hirtshals-Larvik on July 14.

The modern SuperSpeed ferry operates on the route from Denmark to Norway. From Larvik to Oslo by car can be reached in 2 hours, and from Kristiansand in 4 hours – Color Line advertises its connections. From Kiel to Oslo and back you can take the Color Fantasy  (max. 2,800 passengers) or Color Magic (max. 2,600 turists) ship.

Passenger safety comes first. Shipowners emphasize the need to maintain a social distance (about 2m). It is recommended to wear masks that cover the mouth and nose. Bars, restaurants, a fitness center and outdoor decks are exceptions.

Temperature checks are carried out during check-in. Hand disinfection dispensers are available throughout the ship. All cabins and public spaces are supplied with fresh air. MS EUROPA 2 has had its cold ironing connection certified by the classification society DNV GL.

MS Europa 2 (max. 500 tourists) and the expedition ship MS Hanseatic Inspiration (max. 230 tourists) will take 40% fewer passengers on cruises than the capacity of the cabins, with a passenger count of 150-300 guests on board.

“We have taken extraordinary measures in preparation for this relaunch and are faced with a new travel reality with significantly stricter prevention and hygiene standards. We have taken our time because the safety of our guests and crew and the trust of those in charge of the German ports is very important to us” – says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

“For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who reside in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on board at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries” – says Pojer.

The TUI Group has successfully completed the sale of its subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to TUI Cruises. Hamburg-based TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group. The enterprise value was estimated at 1.2 billion euros.  

TUI Cruises also resumes sea cruises with 40% fewer passengers in cabins. TUI Cruises Germany (“Mein Schiff” fleet) suspended operations on March 23 and plans to restart on July 24 with Mein Schiff 2 (max. 2,894 passangers).  Four 3-night weekend roundtrip from Hamburg to the North Sea are planned.

The ship will arrive at the Kristiansand Port, Norway. No passenger will be allowed to disembark. TUI Cruises today offers four departures until August 3, 2020. Tourists can travel to the Norwegian fjords for an 11-day trip on the Mein Schiff 1 (max. 2,894 passengers).  The journey begins on July 19 in Kiel and ends on July 30 at the same port.  

The total number of passengers embarking and disembarking in EU ports is estimated at almost 415 million in 2017, and about 445 million in 2019.  Northern European passenger ship operators are planning their first voyages. There is hope that sea tourism will revive again.

photo: Marek Grzybowski

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