German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises announced on Thursday it plans to resume sailings with guest who reside in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland later this month.
The cruise line will resume with 40% fewer passengers (150-300 gests per ship) and with a 10 point plan that includes new health and safety measures onboard. It will initially sail eight, short sailings all roundtrip from Hamburg.
The move to restart operations, and to restrict it to those residents, comes after the line consulted with the German government and with CLIA Deutschland.
“For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who reside in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on board at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries,” Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, said in a statement announcing the news.
The 10 point plan includes a distancing rule where everyone onboard must maintain a five foot distance between others; COVID-19 tests for the crew; a change in the air conditioning onboard; extra spacing between tables at restaurants; no self-service; and more.
It also includes a mandatory health disclosure prior to boarding and the use of thermal imaging cameras while boarding that will scan guest and alert them to any elevated temperatures.
Each guest onboard, as part of their sailing, will also be given a care set with face masks – also known as surgical masks – which must be worn on board at any time when maintaining the minimum distance is difficult.