Travel | July 29, 2020 12:35 pm

Cruises Are Back Whether the World Is Ready or Not

Germany’s Mein Schiff 2 has already sailed, and others are on the way

Germany's TUI Cruises ship Mein Schiff 2 leaving port on July 24, 2020
Mein Schiff 2 leaving port on July 24, 2020.
Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

No, “Mein Schiff” isn’t Donald Trump’s nickname for the California congressman. It’s the name of a TUI Cruises ship that sailed from Germany on July 24 for the first trip of its kind in the country since COVID-19 shutdowns. That’s right, cruises are officially back.

While the CDC is currently imposing a No Sail Order for cruise ships through the end of September in the U.S. — as the vessels offered some of the worst conditions for spreading the coronavirus — Germany and other countries that have a better handle on the COVID spread are looking to reopen the industry. 

In order for Mein Schiff 2, which translates to “My Ship 2,” to sail out of Germany last Friday for an admittedly short three-day cruise, USA Today reported that health questionnaires were filled out and temperature checks were conducted for all passengers. Additionally, only 1,200 passengers were allowed compared to the 2,900-person capacity, social distancing and mask guidelines were enforced, and while common sense seems to suggest buffets should have been eliminated, the ship simply altered the ever-popular cruise meal of choice by not allowing guests to serve themselves.

Mein Schiff 2’s return voyage was a test run of sorts, both for TUI Cruises and others in the industry watching the results. 

“We are taking a measured approach with a few initial ships within our AIDA line in Germany,” Carnival Corp. spokesperson Roger Frizzell told USA Today. “We have been leveraging medical and science advisors, but this will helps [sic] us gain additional insight with the initial protocols being put in place.”

If you’re one of the thousands of Americans looking to risk life and lung on a cruise ship, it looks like you’ll have to head out of the country for the immediate future — that is, if they’re even accepting Americans.

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