August 28, 2020
(Updated 3:32 p.m. EDT) -- The German cruise line AIDA canceled its planned resumption of service in September, pushing back any restart plans to November 1.
Originally scheduled to restart in August, AIDA's resumption of service was pushed back to September 6 after 10 crew members were found to have tested positive for COVID-19 after they boarded two AIDA ships but before any passengers came aboard in early August.
On August 28, AIDA again delayed its cruising restart, this time to November 1, 2020. AIDA cited continuing restrictions in Germany and Norway, along with increased localized cases of COVID-19 in Germany.
AIDA will now restart voyages aboard AIDAmar on November 1, 2020, sailing to the Canary Islands. AIDAperla will resume service on November 7, sailing from Tenerife and Las Palmas. The company will also resume voyages on AIDAprima from Dubai on December 11 and Abuh Dhabi on December 15, while AIDAstella will restart cruises in the Mediterranean from November 12.
The line had intially hoped to restart cruising for German passengers in early August. AIDAperla and AIDAmar, which were planned to depart on short cruises August 5 and August 12,were delayed after Italy, where the ships are flagged, declined to give approval for the ships to sail.
AIDA has implemented strict health and safety guidelines for its resumption. Those guidelines, in fact, had detected the COVID-19 cases among the crew before sailing resumed in August and passengers could be exposed.
No cases had been detected among crew coming onboard AIDAperla, which was the first ship in the fleet to have a scheduled cruise. The incidents had been reported on AIDAmar and AIDAblu on July 22, well before those ships were slated to cruise on August 12 and August 16, respectively.
Current policies call for all crew members to be tested for COVID-19 in their home countries before flying to Rostock, Germany, and getting onboard the ship. The crew members then take a second coronavirus test while they are secluded on the ship.
Once the 10 infected crew members were detected, they were taken off the two ships and the remaining crew members were contained to the ship in isolation and underwent a third round of tests, the line said.
"It shows that our strict hygiene protocols developed with the authorities are effective and that we have taken the right preventive measures," the line said in a statement in early August. "In all steps, we coordinate closely with the responsible authorities in Rostock and the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and we continue implementing all increased preventive and control measures to protect against COVID-19."
Another European line, Costa Cruises, which is also scheduled to resume service until September, still plans to do so. No changes or further cancellations have been announced.