AIDA Cruises pushes back planned restart, will not sail until November

German line AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of cruise giant Carnival Corp., has pushed back its restart date to Nov. 1.

The cruise line canceled its previously scheduled September and October cruises and has updated its schedule for fall and winter, according to a release provided by Roger Frizzell, spokesperson for Carnival Corp.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “the conditions are currently not in place” to sail again in Germany’s neighboring countries, the line said, referencing Norway, Denmark and the Baltic States specifically. Additionally, the line said, Germany has issued travel warnings for some other countries while others have closed ports to cruise ships until 2021.

“AIDAblu from Kiel, the voyages with AIDAperla with departure dates of Sept. 12, 19 and 26 from Hamburg, as well as all voyages up to and including Oct. 31, 2020, will be cancelled,” the cruise line’s release said. “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.”

The line has also canceled all of its long-distance cruises for fall and winter. 

It’s new restart, should the schedule hold up, with AIDAmar sailing on Nov. 1, will end a coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus that began in March. AIDAmar’s week-long itineraries will depart and arrive in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain. 

After AIDAmar sails, AIDAperla will depart on Nov. 7 from Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. 

Meanwhile, in the Western Mediterranean, AIDAstella will resume operations on Dec. 12 departing from Palma, Mallorca, on seven day itineraries. And AIDAprima will sail starting Dec. 11 from Dubai and Dec. 15 from Abu Dhabi. 

“Even though it is currently not possible for cruise ships to call at Norway, which is so important for our voyages to the north, we are confident that the first AIDA ships from Germany will be able to travel to Northern Europe again at the beginning of 2021,” Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises, said in the release. 

The cruise line announced in July that three of its ships would resume operations in August with new health and hygiene protocols and without port calls.

AIDA held off on restarting operations though because the cruise line’s flag state, Italy, hadn’t given formal approval. 

As AIDA started preparing for its operational restart, it also dealt with several cases of coronavirus among arriving crew.

In the United States, cruising is on hold until November, as well, per the industry’s own voluntary suspension extension issued earlier this month. Some cruise lines, however, including a Princess Cruises, which is also in the Carnival Corp. family, has pushed its suspension further into December. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s own “no-sail” order, is set to expire on Sept. 30.

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