Visitors To China To Be Denied Cruise Ship Boarding – Other Cruise News: Affordable Yachting From Emerald – World’s Largest Cruise Ship
by Kevin Griffin
This week we look at how the coronavirus is affecting cruise shipping and other passenger operations. On a more upbeat note we look at Emerald Yacht Cruises new 100-berth Emerald Azzurra. And take a quick glance at the Wonder of the Seas, which will be next year’s largest cruise ship in the world.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Visitors To China To Be Denied Cruise Ship Boarding
Cruise lines worldwide will deny boarding to passengers and crew who have recently travelled to China, said the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) last week, as fears grew over the deadly new coronavirus.
CLIA said its members were taking extra precautions to prevent an outbreak of the virus on board ships, where infections can spread rapidly.
“CLIA Members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days,” said CLIA’s Hamburg office.
The cruise companies will also carry out screening of passengers and crew before boarding, and change itineraries where necessary, CLIA said.
“The cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of passengers and crew,” the statement said.
The SARS-like virus that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan last month has infected more than 17,000 people and killed over 360 so far.
It has spread to more than twenty-four countries, including Australia, Germany, the UK, Canada and Japan.
In a sign of growing anxiety, more than 6,000 tourists were temporarily confined to the Italian cruise ship Costa Smeralda last week after two Chinese passengers fell ill. They later tested negative for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, container ships catering to passengers have begun to close off bookings from all Chinese ports, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and are also refusing boarding to passengers who have been to China in the previous 14 days in other embarkation ports such as Singapore.
Passenger/roro ferries operating between China and South Korea have stopped carrying passengers and are operating in cargo-only mode for the time being. Ferries arriving in Singapore, on the other had, are still carrying passengers but are subject to screening on arrival.
China’s river fleets are being affected too.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Affordable Yachting From Emerald
Emerald Waterways is building its first 100-passenger ocean-going super yacht, which will sail in the Mediterranean from the summer of 2021. Emerald Azzurra will be the first custom-built vessel for Emerald Yacht Cruises, a branch of the river cruise line, to be launched under the newly formed Emerald Cruises umbrella brand.
The first brochure covers the Aegean, the Adriatic, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and will be a year-round program, from July 31, 2021 through to December 2022.
The focus will initially be on shipyard the Mediterranean but the company won’t ruling out taking the yacht further afield. Emerald Azzurra will be able to sail all around the world, barring polar areas. She’s equipped for the Panama and Suez Canals and the St Lawrence Seaway.
Itineraries will include major highlights as well smaller, lesser-known ports, with the yacht’s size providing a distinct advantage over bigger cruise ships.
Emerald Azzurra is being built in Vietnam, where the Scenic Group has its own team in place. The company is keen to keep its newbuilding on track, after the launch of its Scenic Eclipse six-star discovery yacht was delayed by strikes in the Croatian shipyard where it was built.
The move to Vietnam affords more control, with ships built to European standards in a yard in Ha Long and local labour for economies of scale.
The 360-foot long ship will have fifty cabins, three bars and restaurants, a wellness centre, spa, gym and sauna, three tenders and a Zodiac. There will also be a marina platform to allow easy access to the water for swimming and water sports.
Emerald Azzurra will be a brand new yacht, and 88% of cabins will feature a balcony. The design will have a distinct nod to the line’s river Star Ships. Loyal guests will know exactly what they’re getting.
World’s Largest Cruise Ship
Royal Caribbean’s fifth “Oasis” class ship, Wonder of the Seas, is scheduled for delivery in 2021. She is being built at St Nazaire’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.
Royal Caribbean president and ceo Michael Bayley had already said that the new ship would be slightly larger than Symphony of the Seas, the current biggest ship in the cruise line’s fleet.
The Wonder of the Seas is due to sail from Shanghai, the first “Oasis” class shiptoserve China, provided that that market is still booming as it has been projected to.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd and a director of specialist cruise operator Culture Cruises Ltd, both of London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)