The Italian group Costa Cruises is preparing to resume the sea on Saturday evening from the port of Savona with its flagship Costa Smeralda, after more than four months of forced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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This Mediterranean journey will last from three to seven days, depending on the formulas, with stops on the Italian coast at La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Naples, Messina and Cagliari.
The recovery will be accompanied by compliance with a strict health protocol, with a limited number of passengers, COVID tests for all passengers and crew members, temperature measurements and the wearing of a compulsory mask.
“The desire to leave is very strong among our customers. We receive several hundred bookings every day covering every month until the end of 2022, ”Raffaele d’Ambrosio, general manager of the French channel of Costa Cruises, told AFP.
But French tourists will be missed, for lack of authorization to travel more than 10 km from their home, pending the lifting of restrictions on May 3. And liners are still prohibited from docking at French ports.
“Cruising, like tourism in general, is one of the sectors most affected by the crisis: 2021 will be a year of recovery and for the beginning of 2022 we are awaiting a return to normality”, estimates Mr. d’Ambrosio, which is betting on an upcoming opening of the port of Marseille (south of France).
The cruise line returned to sea at the beginning of September with its ship Costa Deliziosa after more than five months of stoppage due to the epidemic, calling only in Italian ports.
After the Italian government decision to ban cruises during the holiday season, the company suspended its trips on December 20.
Another ship in the Costa fleet, the Costa Luminosa, is due to leave on May 16, from Trieste, for a cruise in Greece.
Between mid-March and September 2020, the cruise industry suffered a shortfall of $ 77 billion and the loss of 518,000 jobs, according to calculations by the International Association of Cruise Lines (CLIA).