TUI Cancels Long Caribbean Cruise Due to New Travel Restrictions

Caribbean cruise canceled by travel restrictions
Passengers arriving in the Canary Islands to join TUI's cruises - TUI photo

Published Dec 3, 2020 6:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Germany’s TUI Cruises announced that it was forced to cancel its planned cruise to the Caribbean from Germany, which would have been the industry’s first long cruise since the COVID-19 related suspension of service. The cruise lines are being forced to consistently adjust their plans for service based on the changing restrictions.

Saying that it had been successful with over 45,000 passengers since the summer on its short cruises from Germany and the 7-day cruises to Greece, TUI announced in November that it would offer a limited capacity 35-night cruise from Germany to the Caribbean. The trip scheduled to depart on December 10, was to include nine beach days and special celebration for Christmas and New Year’s at sea. The exact itinerary for the cruise, however, remained in flux as the company worked to secure port privileges.

To meet the virus-related guidance, only balcony cabins and suites were being offered for sale, limiting the ship to no more than 60 percent of capacity. The line also said to operate the trip they would require a minimum of 1,000 passengers, but recently, it was reported that the cruise had surpassed the 1,000 passenger threshold selling out.

“Due to the current infection situation, the federal and state governments yesterday decided to extend the corona measures until January 10th. We have just received the news that all German ports are now refusing the planned departure for December. With a heavy heart we have to cancel the 35-day Caribbean trip from December 10th to January 14th. "

TUI has been forced to reschedule its cruises on several occasions due to the changing restrictions. After asserting that its sea cruises from Germany were not international travel as passengers remained aboard, the company was forced to suspend the cruises in November. It also stopped the cruises to Greece. They had hoped to restart the short, sea cruises in time for the holiday season if Germany had relaxed its current travel restrictions.

At the beginning of November, TUI however, started operating cruises in the Canary Islands served by charter flights from Germany. They have been able to continue that cruise program, although they announced that for the next few weeks, they will be cruise only trips without ports of call due to local restrictions. TUI also delayed the planned repositioning of additional cruise ships to the Canary Islands into 2021.

Joining TUI in the Canary Islands, AIDA also plans to restart cruise operations for the second time. In the fall, the line briefly operated cruises around Italy before the travel restrictions also forced it to suspend the service. Now Carnival Corporation’s brand targeted at the German speaking markets plans to have two cruise ships sailing around the Canary Islands starting in December. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also plans to resume service with one smaller cruise ship in the Canary Islands and a second offering winter cruises to Scandinavia.