A cruise ship operated by a German line and carrying over 4,000 people has been held up in Lisbon after an outbreak of Covid-19 among its crew.
The AIDAnova docked in Lisbon on Dec. 29 and was due to sail a day later toward the island of Madeira, in time to watch a New Year’s Eve fireworks display in the port of Funchal, the main town on the island. But its departure was canceled, and passengers started the year on the Portuguese mainland instead after 52 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 52 crew members were taken ashore and were being kept isolated in various hotels in Lisbon. All were vaccinated and none are experiencing severe symptoms.
The ship arrived in Lisbon with a crew of 1,353 and 2,844 passengers, most of them Germans, the director of the port of Lisbon, Diogo Vieira Branco, told Lusa, Portugal’s national news agency. The passengers were allowed to go ashore in Lisbon.
AIDA Cruises, the German operator of the ship, could not immediately be reached for comment. But the line told the German news agency DPA that it was trying to find fresh crew members before deciding whether it could resume its itinerary.
The ship was set to sail next to the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa. Earlier in December, another German operator, Tui, was forced to cut short a trip because of a coronavirus outbreak on one of its ships, Mein Schiff 4, which had docked in Las Palmas, the largest city in the Canary Islands.
Registered in Italy, the AIDAnova was launched in 2018 as the world’s first cruise ship powered entirely by liquefied natural gas. On its website, AIDA Cruises specifies that all passengers must be tested for the coronavirus before boarding and that further tests can be required depending on the cruise.