Costa Cruises Costa Diadema has become the second ship owned by Carnival Corporation’s Italian brand to resume cruise operations in the western Mediterranean and the company is not stopping there.
Following the return of the Costa Deliziosa, which completed a successful cruise departing from Trieste earlier this month, Costa’s flagship Costa Smeralda will return to operations on October 10, while new fleet member Costa Firenze will sail from December 27.
The Costa Diadema sailed from Genoa yesterday and her itinerary marks the return of Costa cruises to Liguria and the western Mediterranean. The Diadema will call only at Italian ports and is reserved only for guests resident in Italy. After Genoa, her next ports of call will be Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia.
Encouraging response by guests before Costa Diadema restart
“At last Costa’s cruises are back in Genoa and Liguria, which has been our home for over 70 years. We’re setting sail again gradually and responsibly, with safety protocols that are unrivalled in the tourism industry. The initial response from our guests has been most encouraging,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of both Costa Group and Carnival Asia.
“As Europe’s number one cruise company, we have a responsibility to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity to come back stronger than ever, and to continue to develop the tourism and economic ecosystem of the destinations,” he added.
Riprendono gli scali a #Civitavecchia di @costacrociere con #CostaDiadema 2^nave della compagnia italiana a tornare a navigare con ospiti a bordo, per una settimana alla riscoperta, in sicurezza, del meglio dell’#Italia @ErnestoTedesco https://t.co/FYsLLEMx2d pic.twitter.com/PkixTKEWMs
— Costa Press Office (@Costa_Press) September 20, 2020
Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci said, “Genoa welcomes with great joy the departure of the first Costa Cruises ship from Liguria. Costa Diadema’s journey in the western Mediterranean represents a tangible sign of recovery of one of the fundamental supply chains for the economy of our city. Once again, Genoa will be the home port of many Costa calls, bringing new tourists to discover our city. The future has to be written, but I’m sure we will come back even stronger than before.
Successful screening for COVID-19
Embarkation on board the Costa Diadema was carried out in accordance with the procedures set out in the Costa Safety Protocol, which contains new operational measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
On arrival at the Stazione Marittima port in Genoa, with staggered entrance times by virtue of online check-in, each guest had their temperature scanned, submitted a health questionnaire and was subjected to an antigen rapid swab test, with the possibility of an additional molecular swab test for any suspected cases. Prior to embarking, crew members were also subjected to a molecular swab test at intervals and were quarantined for 14 days. In addition, each crew member will be subject to a monthly COVID-19 test.
Starting with the first call at Civitavecchia/Roma, all destinations on Costa Diadema’s itinerary can be visited only by joining the protected excursions organized by the company for small groups of people on sanitized means of transport, and subject to temperature measurement before leaving and rejoining the ship.
Similar protocols have been employed by MSC Cruises, which resumed operations in August with seven-night cruises in the Meditteranean aboard the MSC Grandiosa.and has now carried out several cruises without any reported cases of COVID-19 on board.
A party of French tourists was however 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 traveled 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.
Proof of concept for lifting CDC’s No-Sail Order?
With MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises now having made several successful sailings, cruise industry executives will be hoping that the US Centers For Disease Control (CDC) will be taking that into account when it decides whether to lift its No-Sail Order which has been in place since mid-March and currently runs through the end of September.
At a virtual meeting of the Miami-Dade County Tourism and the Ports Committee on September 11, cruise executives argued that it was time to allow the industry to get back in the water.
Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA, noted the success the company has had in restarting operations in Europe.
“Our experience to date shows that cruising can be done safely with sufficient planning, protective measures, and then adhering to stringent protocols. NSC has taken this responsibility very seriously and our efforts have been extensive and to help ensure that cruising can offer one of the very safest forms of leisure and travel even in these challenging times,” he said.
Carnival President and CEO of the world’s largest cruise line, Carnival Corporation, also noted the company’s Italian brand Costa Cruises had resumed sailing and that its German brand AIDA Cruises is due to restart operations.
Donald however took a softer tone than his counterparts, saying that the company had a long history of working together collaboratively with the CDC to address public health issues and that it was “totally committed to working with CDC to address COVID.”
Was Donald aware of something that executives from other cruise lines didn’t know?
Two weeks prior , he said in an interview with Seatrade Cruise News, prior to Costa’s restart, that “it’s definitely possible we could sail again in 2020 from the US.”
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.