Sweden had its first cruise call for the year on June 15 and it was made possible through the collaborative efforts of ports in Visby, Stockholm, and Gothenburg. Technically cruise ship Mein Schiff 1 had arrived on 25th May in Stockholm but no passengers were allowed to disembark. Now Sweden has started cruise tourism under the bubble cruise concept where tourists will be allowed to disembark and visit destinations.
Sweden is a popular cruise destination and by restarting cruise services at Stockholm a positive message has been sent out to the struggling, pandemic hit international cruise shipping companies. The pandemic restrictions are being eased up around the world but every country, every province has its own protocol. Joakim Larsson, Planning Commissioner of the City of Stockholm explained that the relevant regulatory authorities of Stockholm, Visby, and Gothenburg collaborated and laid down joint protocols with an unambiguous code of conduct for cruise ships calls thus it became simpler for the shipping companies to adhere to policies and restart the business.
The cruise ships will be following the bubble cruise concept in Sweden. Under the bubble cruise concept, passengers will be staying in their virtual bubble, which means they will be traveling in specially chartered buses, having their pre-decided timing for visits to local tourist attractions so that the passengers do not mix with local communities. Under the bubble cruise concept, it is mandatory for passengers to test negative for covid-19.
In May, with the announcement made by state prime minister Daniel Gunther, Port of Kiel became the first port in Germany to restart the cruise operations after the covid-19 lockdown. Following the success of the tourism model that was experimented with in Schleswig-Holstein, cruise ships were allowed to restart operations with the fully vaccinated crew and passengers and abide by the rules laid out similar to the hotel industry.
In the USA, Cruise lines have received approval from the CDC for operations of ships. Celebrity Cruises became the first cruise line in the USA to restart services after Covid restrictions were eased. Cruise companies in the USA have upgraded their technology to make sailing safer for passengers. Some companies have introduced apps so that passengers can use their phones to open rooms or order drinks.
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