Impact of Europe’s 2nd wave of COVID-19 on Cruise Industry

MSC Magnifica in Kotor, 2019

MSC Magnifica in Kotor. Credit: Wistula / CC BY-SA 4.0

Europe is currently experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections. The U.K., Spain, France, and the Netherlands have seen a sharp increase in cases since early September. The growing number of cases have started to impact the tentative return of cruising. 

In Europe, the second wave of COVID is causing full lockdowns in most countries. Furthermore, in the U.S., most cruise lines are estimating more time to prepare their crew and vessels to comply with the CDC’s new health regulations. Lines like MSC, Costa, TUI, and AIDA are creating innovative health protocols to ensure the safety of passengers, crew, and destination cities.

Until very recently, Europe has been one of the few parts of the world where cruises have been able to resume in a limited capacity. However, WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, highlighted recently that Europe is at the epicentre of this pandemic once again. The brief euphoria of scheduled sailings will hit reality and result in a temporary suspension of further sailings in the given prevailing pandemic situation.

In the context, MSC Cruises recently announced temporarily suspending further sailings of MSC Magnifica with the pandemic situation in France and Germany and the travel restrictions imposed. Moreover, MSC Cruises has been forced to cancel its 2021 World Cruise on MSC Magnifica. Guests will be contacted separately with rescheduling options.

Besides that most major cruise lines are cancelling all voyages until the new year, and some into March and later, both Saga Cruises and Marella Cruises have cancelled further voyages. Marella Cruises also announced that they would be extending the pause of operations until December 2020. The line was initially planning to start sailing from November 15, 2021. Impacted customers are eligible for a 110% future cruise credit or may request a refund. Carnival Corporation’s brand, AIDA, has also temporarily suspended all sailings through November 30 due to new restrictions imposed by the German authorities. CroisiEurope with 43 boats in European waters is Europe’s biggest river cruise company, has also cancelled all cruises through 2020.

Though some cruise lines are still operating in the Mediterranean, most companies have now either postponed or cancelled voyages for November and December. Moreover, some companies have even cancelled voyages well into spring.

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