AIDAnova Ends Cruise Due to COVID After Waiting for Crew in Lisbon

cruise ended after crew tests positive for coronavirus
AIDAnova was in Lisbon for five days before ending a cruise a week early (AIDA)

Published Jan 3, 2022 3:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

German cruise line AIDA has become the latest to be forced to curtail a cruise due to an outbreak of the coronavirus among the ship’s crew, which has also likely spread to a limited number of passengers. The Carnival Corporation-owned cruise line has not officially commented, but news reports indicate the passengers were disembarking the 183,858 gross ton AIDAnova - the company’s flagship - and flying back to Germany, ending a cruise that had been scheduled to continue this week.

The AIDAnova had only recently returned to service, becoming AIDA’s tenth cruise ship in operation. The company proudly highlighted her return to the home port of Hamburg in mid-December, lighting the ship up as she sailed to the dock. They operated two short cruises to Norway before on December 22 beginning what the company was calling the first “full festive program,” which included as a highlight a planned visit to Funchal, Madeira to witness the spectacular annual New Year’s fireworks show, as well as visits to Gran Canaria. The cruise was due to return to Hamburg on January 8.

AIDA reports that all the crew aboard the cruise ship, which numbered 1,353 were all vaccinated and being tested for the virus. In addition, all passengers over the age of 12 were required to be vaccinated and all passengers tested negative. She reportedly boarded 2,844 passengers, well under her normally 5,200 passenger capacity, for the two-and-a-half-week cruise from Hamburg.

A week into the cruise, the AIDAnova made a planned port call in Lisbon, Portugal. The ship reported to authorities that a handful of crew members had tested positive for the virus. The cruise line transferred crew who were testing positive into hotels on shore for isolation and initially planned to continue the cruise. A spokesman later told German media that the ship was remaining in Portugal while the company looked for replacement crew members.

By Sunday, January 2, the cruise line was reporting that the number of positive tests had increased to 52 crew members and media reports today are indicating the number has increased to 68 including an unspecified number of passengers. AIDA confirmed that the decision was made to end the holiday cruise after having been in Lisbon for the past five days. Passengers who tested negative were getting off the cruise ship early this morning to be taken to the airport and flights back to Germany. 

The AIDAnova is scheduled from January to April 2022, to cruise between Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. So far, AIDA has not indicated if there will be any changes to that program.

She became the second major cruise ship in days to curtail a cruise due to an outbreak of coronavirus among the crew. Last week, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 announced that it was canceling ports and would skip its planned return to New York to wait for additional crew members to join the ship in Barbados. Passengers scheduled to disembark in New York were being flown to the U.S., while U.K.-bound passengers were offered the option of flying home. The Queen Mary 2 appears to have departed Barbados as planned on January 2 for its Atlantic voyage to Southampton, England.