German Cruise Line Launches First Sailing Since Industry Shutdown

The first large-scale cruise ship to set sail since the industry shutdown in April left Hamburg, Germany on Friday with 1,200 passengers for a three-day trip.

German cruise line TUI Cruises launched the Mein Schiff 2 (My Ship 2) into the Elbe River and on out to the North Sea for the short journey.

There were no land stops scheduled before the ship returns to Germany on Monday, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced myriad changes – including the fact that the 1,200 passengers was less than half of the 2,900 that the Mein Schiff would normally carry. TUI Cruises said it could accommodate 1,740 passengers, or 60 percent of capacity.

“Today it finally starts again,” the company wrote in an Instagram post ahead of the departure, according to the New York Daily News. “Mein Schiff 2 is ready and so are we.”

The ship’s itinerary was mostly to stay near Norway for scenic views. Face masks were required at all times and passengers and crew were required to stay at least five feet from each other. Passengers were also served food at the buffets instead of helping themselves.

TUI expects to launch the Mein Schiff 1 in August.

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