German lines resuming domestic cruises in May

Three cruise operators that operate in the German market – AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and TUI – have said that they would be restarting services in Germany, starting from Kiel, before the end of May. The announcements followed the news that travel restrictions would be reduced in northern parts of Germany

The government for the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, where Kiel is situated, recently announced that it would be relaxing Covid-19-related restrictions so as to permit domestic travel to resume in time for the public holiday at the end of May.

The port of Kiel announced that it would be reopening to vacationers and the three cruise lines set plans to restart their trips.

TUI and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises were successful in resuming cruises last summer, during the lull in Covid-19 infections. They offered holidays mainly in the Baltic, with some limited stops in Scandinavia offered aboard Hapag’s cruises. AIDA had planned to resume cruises from Germany but later cancelled these after the virus re-emerged.

Germany is the second-largest source market globally for passengers after the US, with the market growing by nearly 16% in 2019 to 2.6m passengers.

During the winter of 2020/21 the three cruise lines offered limited cruise services with fly-cruise programs operating from the Canary Islands. TUI and AIDA are continuing their Canary Island cruises and had already announced plans to add cruises to Greece this summer. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is repositioning its cruise ship Europa 2 into the Mediterranean.

AIDA said that the 71,000 gt AIDAsol (IMO 9490040) was positioned in Northern Germany and ready for its first guests. Details of the cruises it will be offering, starting May 22nd, will be released in the coming days. TUI will offer cruises from Kiel from May 23rd. The company said it would be resuming the Blue Voyages, similar to the short no-port-stops sea cruises it offered during 2020.

Hapag-Lloyd’s cruises will start at the end of May running into August, aboard its luxury expedition cruise ship, the 15,650 gt Hanseatic Inspiration (IMO 9817145). Its itineraries will be based on the current restrictions, including sailing in the Baltic and the North Sea. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also plans to use the ship’s Zodiac expedition crafts to take passengers close to shore or land.

The UK is also permitting domestic cruises for residents to resume in May.

2011-built, Italy-flagged, 71,304 gt AIDAsol is owned by Costa Crociere SpA of Genoa, Italy. It is managed by Aida Cruises of Rostock, Germany. It is entered with multiple clubs.

2019-built, 156,51 gt Hanseatic Insporation is owned by TUI Cruises GmbH of Hamburg, germany. It is managed by TUI Cruises GmbH of Hamburg. ISM manager is Global Fleet Management LLC of Miami, Florida, USA. It is entered with UK Club.