A return to cruising is still possible this year, Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold Donald said in an interview with Seatrade Cruise News on Friday.
“It’s definitely possible we could sail again in 2020 from the US,” Donald told the website in an exclusive interview.
Donald gave the example of Italy, where cruising has been successfully resumed by MSC Cruises, which has adopted a stringent health and safety protocol that includes pre-embarkation double-buffer testing for COVID-19.
‘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.’
Carnival’s Costa Cruises to resume sailing in September
Carnival’s Italian subsidiary Costa Cruises is scheduled to resume sailing from Italy on September 6 and is also planning to adopt double buffer testing in which passengers are first given an antigen swab and if they test positive are then given a PCR molecular test. This procedure led to MSC denying boarding to a party of 13 French tourists after one of them tested positive on both tests.
Carnival’s Germany subsidiary AIDA delays restart
While Costa is scheduled to be back in the water in Italy a week from now, Carnival’s German subsidiary AIDA Cruises has pushed back its planned restart to November. This despite the fact that rival Royal Caribbean’s German joint venture TUI Cruises has resumed operations and is now planning to expand sailings in September. AIDA had originally planned to resume operations in August and then delayed to September as its flag state, Italy, did not provide approval in time for the restart.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conditions are currently not in place in Germany’s neighbouring European countries, especially in the north with Norway and Denmark or the Baltic states. For many distant destinations outside of Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany has issued a travel warning or the respective countries have prohibited calls of cruise ships until 2021. ” AIDA said in a statement.
AIDA said all short voyages with AIDAblu from Kiel, the voyages with AIDAperla with departure dates of September 12, 19 and 26 from Hamburg, as well as all voyages up to and including October 31, 2020, are cancelled. In addition, all other voyages planned for the fall and winter season for 2020 and 2021 in the Western Mediterranean, the Azores, Cape Verde Islands and Northern Europe will not take place.
All AIDA fall and winter long-distance cruises cancelled
AIDA has cancelled all long-distance cruises of the fall and winter season for 2020 and 2021 in the following destinations:
- Caribbean (including transit cruises) with AIDAdiva, AIDAluna and AIDAperla
- Southern Africa (including transit cruises) with AIDAmira
- Southeast Asia (including transit cruises) with AIDAbella and AIDAvita
- Indian Ocean (including transit cruises) with AIDAblu
- Orient with AIDAprima up to and including the voyage on December 8, 2020
As Donald put it to Seatrade Cruise News, while, based on what is happening in Europe, a resumption of cruise operations from the US in 2020 is ‘very plausible,’ Carnival will also have to prepare for the option that it will not be possible.