Two cruise line brands from Carnival Corporation & plc have announced plans to resume sailing operations, with Italy-based Costa Cruises scheduled to restart sailing in Italy this Sunday, Sept. 6, followed by Germany-based AIDA Cruises scheduled to resume on Nov. 1.
The brands will begin in a gradual, phased-in manner with six initial ships and limited itineraries, becoming the first two of the company’s nine global cruise line brands to resume operations. The initial cruises will take place with adjusted passenger capacity and enhanced health protocols developed with government and health authorities to follow shoreside mitigation guidelines.
Costa Cruises is restarting sailing with two initial ships departing from Italian ports beginning Sept. 6. Costa Deliziosa will offer weekly cruises from Trieste on Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27, visiting five destinations in southern Italy, including Bari and Brindisi in Puglia, Corigliano-Rossano in Calabria, and Siracusa and Catania in Sicily. Costa Diadema will follow on Sept. 19 from Genoa, calling at Italian ports in the western Mediterranean, including Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia. The one-week itineraries are being reserved exclusively for Italian guests.
AIDA Cruises will resume its cruise operations with two of its ships, sailing from the Canary Islands in November 2020, followed by an additional two ships departing from the western Mediterranean and United Arab Emirates beginning in December 2020. The first of the brand’s cruises is set to begin Nov. 1, with seven-day voyages to and departures from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, with AIDAmar, followed by sailings from Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife with AIDAperla on Nov. 7. In December, AIDA Cruises will resume sailing operations in the Western Mediterranean with AIDAstella departing on seven-day cruises from Palma, Mallorca, beginning Dec. 12. Additionally, AIDAprima will offer seven-day cruises from Dubai starting Dec. 11 and from Abu Dhabi beginning Dec. 15.
In working with global and national health authorities and medical experts, Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises have developed a comprehensive set of health and hygiene protocols to help facilitate a safe, healthy return to cruise vacations. Both brands are providing guests with detailed information about enhanced restart protocols, which will continue to be modeled after shoreside health and mitigation guidelines as defined by each brand’s respective county, and approved by the flag state, Italy. Protocols will be updated based on evolving scientific and medical knowledge related to mitigation strategies.
Costa Cruises has developed the Costa Safety Protocol for its fleet, including new operating procedures supported by independent scientific experts in public health and consistent with the health protocols defined by the Italian Government and European authorities. The comprehensive set of measures and procedures cover key areas such as crew health and safety, the booking process, guest activities, entertainment and dining, and medical care on board, as well as pre-boarding, embarking and disembarking operations, which will include testing for all guests prior to embarkation. Additional information on the Costa Safety Protocol is available here.
“Our highest responsibilities and top priorities are always compliance, protecting the environment, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, the communities we visit and our crew,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We are engaged with a large number of medical experts and scientists around the world, and they are providing us with extremely valuable insight that we are using to develop new and enhanced protocols that are in the best interest of our guests, crew and overall public health. In areas of the world where community spread is largely mitigated and authorities are supportive of a gradual return to service over time, we look forward to again welcoming guests on board.”
More broadly, as the understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Carnival Corporation has been working with a number of world-leading public health, epidemiological and policy experts to support its ongoing efforts for developing enhanced protocols and procedures for the return of cruise vacations. Among the experts are:
- Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology, University of Reading School of Biological Sciences (UK)
- Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, Herbert S. Gasser professor of medicine, molecular microbiology, pathology & immunology; and associate director, Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
- Michael Z. Lin, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology, bioengineering, and chemical and systems biology; and principal investigator, The Lin Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine
- Dr. Jewel Mullen, MD, MPH, associate dean for health equity, University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
- Emil C. Reisinger, MD, full professor of internal medicine, infectious diseases and tropical medicine and director of the Division of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rostock, Germany
- Dr. Stefano Vella, MD, former director, National Center for Global Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health); and adjunct professor of global health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Rome
These advisors and others have been working with the company and its brands to review existing and enhanced procedures and provide supplemental advice based on the latest scientific evidence and best practices for protection and mitigation.