In a move that should offer some relief to the tourism industry here, the Canarian Government has authorized several cruise lines to operate between Canarian ports from 5 November on condition that the companies comply with the strict health protocol imposed by the regional authorities to guarantee the safety of tourists and residents alike. The Government said that they started discussions in the summer with the operators hoping to run cruises through the autumn-winter season purely between ports within the Canaries.
TUI Cruises and Hapag Lloyd Cruises are the first to have been given authorization after both companies made a formal declaration of full compliance, including an insurance policy to cover covid-related incidents between passengers while operating in these islands’ waters, agreements with hospitals and hotels on each island in advance of any quarantine situations, a specific hygiene plan for the liners, and the engagement of health personnel as part of their crews.
The regional Government will only authorize European cruise lines because the bloc’s health protocols are considered to be among the most rigorous in the world. Apart from TUI and Hapag Lloyd, both German companies, another five European cruise lines have shown interest in the Canary Islands’ winter season. Liners will have capacity limitations to a maximum 70%, and will be required to give all passengers a PCR/serological diagnostic test before they arrive in the archipelago – the tests must return a negative result, naturally.
Furthermore, cruise passengers will be required to complete a form including details of all their movements in the fortnight before their arrival here so as to facilitate following up any incidents, and to verify whether they have had any contact with people who are covid positive, or whether they themselves have tested positive in any recent diagnostic test.
The first ships to carry out cruises between the islands will be TUI’s Mein Schiff II, based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Hapag Lloyd’s Europa II, based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.