BERLIN (AP) – A German cruise ship carefully tests water amid a coronavirus pandemic, sailing for the first time since the industry closed a few months ago and using strict precautions to keep passengers and crew as safe as possible.
The TUI cruise ship “Mein Schiff 2” – literally “My Ship 2” – sailed for a weekend cruise on the North Sea late Friday night, the DPA news agency reported.
Occupancy is limited to 60% so that passengers can keep their distance from each other, but even that level is not reached. Ships sail with 1,200 passengers on board compared to normal capacity of 2,900. It was not reported how many crew members participated.
The ship sails from the northern port of Hamburg to Norway, and passengers will spend the weekend at sea without stopping before returning to Germany on Monday.
On board, passengers and crew must stay as far as 1.5 meters (5 feet) from each other or wear protective masks and they will not be able to serve themselves on the ship’s buffet. All passengers must also fill out a health questionnaire before boarding and their temperature is taken.
After being closed for months, German cruise companies hope that shorter and tightly controlled trips will help restart businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic, which makes global travel stalled, forcing cruise ship companies to suspend operations and become stranded thousands of passengers and crew worldwide.