Today I mentioned that according to the popular Crew-Center site, TUI Cruises canceled the restarting of the cruise ship Mein Schiff 1. This cruise ship was scheduled to resume cruises on July 31st out of Kiel, Germany, according to German media. The cruise blog Schiffe und Kreuzfahrten reported this morning that the reason for canceling the cruise is because the company allegedly had a problem bringing back crew on board.
I posted the article on our firm’s Facebook page and asked whether any crew members had any additional information. According to two crew members who are on this particular cruise ship, the true reason for the cancellation is that seven 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.
It’s an inauspicious attempt at a re-start at cruising by the Mien Schiff company. This was supposed to be essentially a test cruise for Royal Caribbean which has a 50:50 joint venture with TUI of Germany which manages the Mein Schiff ships. Royal Caribbean recently touted that it assembled a new group of experts called the “Healthy Sail Panel” to advise it about new policies and protocols to attempt to make cruising during the COVID-19 pandemic safe.
Carnival Corporation meanwhile announced that it is also initiating cruises primarily with German customers involving its subsidiary AIDA Cruises.
The Mein Schiff 1 is scheduled to begin a short cruise to nowhere from Kiel on August 3rd.
There is no question that attempts by the major cruises lines to try to return to cruising as usual will be met with problems like this.
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July 23, 2020 Update: A German website, Der Kreuzfahrttester, published an article titled Blue cruise of the Mein Schiff 1 canceled! What’s the real reason? which adressed three possible explanations for the cancellation of the cruise: (1) Due to worldwide travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, the start team for the Mein Schiff 1 is not yet completely on board; (2) TUI Cruises apparently had problems getting the crew because “nobody wants to work for this company anymore;” and (3) COVID-19 tests for some of the oncoming crew was positive and therefore the Blue Cruise had to be cancelled (citing this article). The site said “if this new information is correct, it must be published. There will probably be further cancellations, then for this ship.” It indicated that it asked TUI Cruises yesterday evening for an explanation but had not received a response. We have asked the German website to share the response if it receives one, and we will post it here.
July 39, 2020 Update: A cruise-related site managed by a German blogger writes:
“After a long silence, TUI Cruises has now confirmed the rumors that have been circulating for more than a week: As with AIDA Cruises, a few corona infections were also found among the crew members of Mein Schiff 1 flown in from Asia. That wouldn’t be that bad. However, the fact that the shipping company apparently did not want to expose this to the public is questionable.”
Photo credit: Mein Schiff 1 – Dickelbers – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia