Carnival Cruises got the first of its European brands back on water Sunday when the Costa Deliziosa set sail from Trieste, Italy.
The Costa Deliziosa is carrying only Italian passengers and will call only at Italian ports – Bari, Brindisi, Corigliano-Rossano, Siracusa and Catania.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome our guests on board again after more than five months without cruising and we’re also happy to be restarting operations right here in Italy. Our decision to resume responsibly with Italian cruises for Italian guests is particularly significant for us, since we’ve believed and invested in this country for more than 70 years as the only cruise company flying the Italian flag,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, shortly before the Costa Deliziosa pulled out of Trieste.
Buen viaje! #Costadeliziosa #emoción #trieste @costacrociere @costacruzeiros @costacruceros @DreamBlog @francescalatana @Off_Valpo @gianviXY @luxurytravel @PortholeCruise @carrarars @MassimoBrancal @AlovisiMario @ComunediGenova pic.twitter.com/p5WdnyPmwM
— Crucero Fun (@crucerofun) September 6, 2020
“For the last few weeks, we’ve been working together with the authorities on implementation of the new health procedures that will allow our guests to make the most of their cruise experience while ensuring maximum safety. Meanwhile, we’re continuously monitoring the situation with a view to gradually reintroducing cruising on more ships from October, with itineraries extended also to include guests from our other European markets.”
Pre-embarkation testing and strict safety protocols
Costa said embarkation was carried out in accordance with the procedures set out in the Costa Safety Protocol. ,
Passengers arrived at the terminal in Trieste, with staggered entrance times after conducting an online check-in. Each guest had their temperature scanned, submitted a health questionnaire, and underwent an antigen rapid swab test. According to the health and safety protocol, passengers are not cleared for boarding unless they test negative. Passengers who test positive on the rapid antigen test are referred for a molecular PCR test and if they test positive on the second test are denied embarkation to the voyage. Costa has yet to state whether any passengers were denied boarding.
Crew members are tested in an even more stringent process with molecular swab test at intervals, 14-day quarantine prior to boarding, and a monthly swab test once on board.
— Costa Press Office (@Costa_Press) September 6, 2020
The protocol is similar to that adopted by MSC Cruises, which resumed sailing recently with seven-night cruises in the Meditteranean aboard the MSC Grandiosa.
Like MSC, shore excursions on Costa Deliziosa’s itinerary will only be allowed in small groups organized by Costa on sanitized means of transport, and subject to temperature measurement before leaving and rejoining the ship.
In an incident in late August, a group of 13 French tourists were denied boarding to the MSC Grandiosa as it sailed from Genoa, after one of the party failed a swab test prior to embarkation. The group of French tourists had travelled to Genoa together by minibus and after one of them tested positive both for an antigen swab test and for a PCR test, the entire group was denied boarding.
Carnival Cruises keeping a close watch on European restart
Carnival Cruises will be keeping a close eye on the success of Costa Cruises’ restart as it looks to resume its North American operations once the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lifts its no-sail order.
Last week, Carnival Cruises President and CEO Arnold Donald, said in an interview with Seatrade Cruise News , that a return to cruising in North America is still possible this year,
“It’s definitely possible we could sail again in 2020 from the US,” Donald told the website in an exclusive interview.
‘If you go back just two or three months, who would have thought there would be any possibility of cruising in Italy? … Now Italy is cruising again. They’ve mitigated the spread. Society is starting to move about. Is it too soon? Is it premature? Is it perfect timing? We’ll all know that a month or two from now.’
Costa Cruises’ next ship due back in service is Costa Diadema, which is scheduled to leave from Genoa on September 19. Like Deliziosa, she will only be calling at Italian ports and carrying guests resident in Italy, with stopovers in Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari, and La Spezia. Then from October, it will be the turn of the flagship Costa Smeralda, followed in December by Costa Firenze – the company’s new ship under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard.
Carnival’s AIDA Cruises to resume operations in November
Another Carnival brand, Germany-based AIDA Cruises will resume sailing with two of its ships, departing from the Canary Islands in November 2020, followed by an additional two ships departing from the western Mediterranean and United Arab Emirates beginning in December 2020.
The first of the brand’s cruises is set to begin November 1, with seven-day voyages to and departures from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, with AIDAmar, followed by sailings from Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife with AIDAperla on November 7.
In December, AIDA Cruises will resume sailing operations in the Western Mediterranean with AIDAstella departing on seven-day cruises from Palma, Mallorca, beginning December 12. Additionally, AIDAprima will offer seven-day cruises from Dubai starting December. 11 and from Abu Dhabi beginning December 15.