The cruise line industry, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to its enclosed spaces, has started to gradually resume services as it looks to rebound from the considerable setbacks that it has experienced over the past year. Most of its active ships are located in Asia and Australia with some in Europe.
Heritage Expeditions has begun operating its Spirit of Enderby ship from Bluff, New Zealand, which is on the South Island’s southern coast.
In Australia, Coral Expeditions and True North Cruises have resumed service. The former company is providing routes to South Australia and Tasmania while the latter organization has routes available from cities such as Adelaide, Perth and Sydney.
Those in Singapore can embark on cruises offered by Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. They are not going to any other destinations – they are “cruises to nowhere” – but they provide the cruise-going experience that many are looking for. However, Dream Cruises is looking to provide service to South Korea and Thailand in March.
Asuka Cruise, Mitsui OSK and Venus are now offering domestic sailings to those in Japan with departures from Kobe and Yokohama. Additionally, Venus Cruise is offering routes from Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo while Asuka Cruise is providing service from Nagoya as well.
The Mediterranean Sea is once again home to MSC Cruises’ MSC Grandiosa while its MSC Magnifica is expected to join it on those waters in April.
Additionally, Spain’s Canary Islands, just off the coast of Africa, is home to TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ships. TUI Cruises had also offered cruises in mainland Europe over the past year while Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is planning to do so in March.
Meanwhile, HMS Global Maritime, which oversees American Queen and Victory Cruise Lines, has announced that it will start requiring all of its passengers and staff to have had both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed to board.
This is because “the health and safety of our guests, crew members and partners continues to remain our top priority,” according to John Waggoner, the founder and CEO of American Queen.
One aspect that helped lead to this decision is the majority of passengers on American Queen ships being 65 years of age or older, meaning that they are both more susceptible to severe COVID-19-related symptoms and more likely to receive the vaccine shots early on in the vaccination process.
Other travel-related industries may also require passengers to have been vaccinated prior to being allowed aboard. For example, Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, has been reported to be planning to make this move. In addition, Alan Joyce, its CEO, has said that he expects it to become the norm in the airline industry.