German cruise line AIDA cruises removed a guest from the AIDAblu on Saturday in Catania, Italy. The ship, which was underway for its first cruise since the lockdown started in March 2020, removed the passenger after violating the regulations for shore excursions.
As is the case with all European cruise lines, shore excursions are only allowed under strictly controlled, cruise line organized tours. Guests cannot leave the group at any time, and contact with any locals not tested previously for COVID-19 is strictly disallowed.
The guest left AIDA with no other option after he had left his excursion group than to exclude him from the rest of the cruise. Protocols and rules are communicated to all guests onboard, including exclusion from the voyage after any breaches of the health and safety guidelines.
AIDA: “Health and safety of all onboard has the highest priority.”
In a statement released last Saturday, the company said the following:
“During an AIDA-led shore excursion in Catania (Italy) on Tuesday, 20.10.2020, a guest of the AIDAblu left his travel group and thus violated the applicable rules of conduct for protection against Covid-19.”
“The health and safety of all guests and crew members onboard AIDAblu has the highest priority. For this reason, the guest was refused further travel onboard AIDAblu. AIDA Cruises will assist the guest in organizing his return journey.”
“As part of our health and hygiene concept, individual shore excursions for our guests and crew members are currently not possible. In this way, the company ensures that all necessary preventive measures are also observed on land.”
“All guests are informed of these measures not only before the trip but also before their shore excursion.”
Other guests onboard were duly informed by the captain, which should have undoubtedly served as a warning for other guests. The guest in question did receive help with arranging travel back to his home. Whether any family members or friends were on board with the man remains unclear at this time.
Cruise Lines Remain Strict
It is not the first time that cruise lines remove passengers from the ship after breaching the COVID-19 guidelines. On its first voyage in August after the lockdown, MSC Grandiosa had to remove a family of three from the ship after violating excursion rules.
An MSC representative said at the time:
“In line with our health and safety protocol, developed to ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests, crew, and communities we visit, we had to deny boarding to a family who broke from their shore excursion while visiting Naples, Italy.”
“By departing from the organized shore excursion, this family broke from the safe ‘social bubble’ that MSC Cruises created for them to enjoy their visit ashore safely, and therefore could not be permitted to reboard the ship.”
The news comes when cruise lines need to show they can provide a safe sailing environment for everyone. By removing guests from the vessel for breaching the standing rules and regulations, the cruise lines are sending out a powerful message: Sail with us, but do it safely.
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