Today, TUI Cruises, which operates the Mein Schiff fleet of cruise ships, announced that five crew members hired to work aboard the Mein Schiff 1 (photo below) tested positive for COVID-19. The German cruise blog called Kreuzfahrt-Aktuelles (cruise news) published the news. The majority of travel publications and cruise blogs are currently reporting with great fanfare on the cruise recently taken by another ship in the Mein Schiff fleet, the Mein Schiff 2, which recently returned from a three day cruise from Hamburg with 1,200 guests.
5 Crewmitglieder, die für den Neustart der Mein Schiff 1 vorgesehen sind, wurden vorab positiv auf das Coronavirus getestet. Gemäß des neuen Prozesses bei TUI Cruises durften die Mitarbeiter nicht an Bord, um eine Ausbreitung des Virus zu verhindern.https://t.co/x6CZDAU36W
— Kreuzfahrt Aktuelles (@cruisenews_de) July 29, 2020
TUI stated that according to what it calls its “strict processes . . . five crew members of Mein Schiff 1 tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in a facility on land rented by TUI Cruises . . . ”
TUI previously stated that it cancelled the first trip from Kiel, Germany because it was unable to fill certain positions on the start team of Mein Schiff 1 in “good time due to global travel restrictions.” On July 21st we reported that the true reason for the cancellation of the July 31 Mein Schiff 1 cruise was that crew members tested positive for COVID-19. Mein Schiff 1 had already completed its crew manning for this ship by this time. Those who tested positive were all newly joined crew members. Several Mein Schiff ship employees informed us that as many as seven crew members tested positive for COVID-19. TUI refused to respond to our inquiries whether it cancelled the re-start cruise for the Mein Schiff 1 due to its crew members testing positive for the contagious virus.
TUI is now finally acknowledging our report that testing of it crew revealed that many were infected with the virus, although it is now admitting that five, rather than seven, crew members tested positive.
TUI responded to the bad news by claiming that the positive tests for the crew members “proves that the processes introduced are working.” This is the same spin that AIDA Cruises gave to the fact that ten crew members tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported last week. But it tends to prove that it is important for cruise lines to perform tests of its guests, as well as its crew, before they board the ships.
This means that between the two German brands now either cruising or preparing to sail next month (August) from Germany, there have been at least fifteen (15) crew members who tested positive for COVID-19.
We recently published our article titled Without COVID-19 Testing, New Protocols for German Cruise Lines Are Doomed to Fail. The Mein Schiff 1 was supposed to be one of the test cruise ships for Royal Caribbean which has a 50:50 joint venture with TUI of Germany which manages the Mein Schiff ships. The AIDA ships will be test cruises for the Carnival Corporation brands.
It is irrational for cruise lines not to test guests for the virus when over two dozen crew members on the Mein Schiff and AIDA ships have tested positive. Without testing, there is a statistical certainty that there will be a handful of asymptomatic guests infected with COVID-19 who are not screened out by the pre-boarding temperature checks. It is entirely predictable that the guests will then infect other guests and crew members, irrespective of health protocols which may be in place.
Have a thought? Please leave a comment or question below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Photo credits: Mein Schiff 1 – Dickelbers – SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.