It is not just the US-based cruise ships that feel the effects of the Omicron variant. German cruise operator TUI/Mein Schiff, part-owned by Royal Caribbean, has cancelled one voyage with its Mein Schiff 2 cruise ship.
The cruise line also decided to cancel a 34-day voyage for selected passengers onboard Mein Schiff 1, due to sail from Bremerhaven, Germany. The company cancelled the cruise for these guests to sail with reduced passenger numbers to the Caribbean on January 19.
Mein Schiff 2 is sailing an itinerary between La Romana in the Dominican Republic and Barbados. Guests embarked Mein Schiff 2 in La Romana on January 14, for a 14-day round-trip cruise. On arrival in Barbados on January 17, 800 new guests would embark the vessel, which would stay onboard for 14 days back to Barbados.
However, cases of COVID-19 were detected amongst the service staff onboard, and TUI Cruises announced it would cancel the cruise for the 800 guests due to embark. This would have enabled the cruise line to continue the La Romana-La Romana cruise with fewer guests, and be able to provide the services needed.
In a turn of events, TUI Cruises has now cancelled the current voyage for guests that embarked on January 14 and the cruise for guests due to embark in Barbados. All 939 guests will be flown home from Barbados on January 18 and 19.
The following cruise for Mein Schiff 2 will not be until January 28. She will sail from La Romana to Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados, where more guests will embark; Saint Vincent, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Johns, St Maarten, and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, before arriving in La Romana again.
TUI Cuts Passenger Numbers for Mein Schiff 1
Mein Schiff 2 is not the only vessel in the TUI fleet that has been affected by Omicron. Various guests booked on the 34-day cruise from Bremerhaven, Germany, to the Caribbean have heard from TUI their voyage has been cancelled. The voyage itself will still sail, but with reduced passenger numbers.
The company took the drastic step after it became clear that more passengers than anticipated had become infected onboard the cruise ship’s current cruise. Already one port of call in the Azores had been cancelled.
According to a statement from TUI at Cruisetricks.de, the cruise line said: “Against the background of the latest findings and experiences of the last few weeks, we have decided at short notice to reintroduce stricter occupancy limits to protect guests and crew on longer voyages. As the number of guests on the Mein Schiff 1 voyage planned for January 19 is currently above this, we have decided, after considering all options, to cancel the voyage for a small group of guests at short notice.”
TUI selected guests that would not be able to sail based on the time of booking. They will be refunded the cruise price and receive a 10% discount on a future cruise.
The 34-day cruise from Bremerhaven will still depart on January 19, albeit with fewer guests. The cruise includes two trans-Atlantic crossings and calls in Caribbean ports such as Aruba, Curacao, St. Kitts, St. Johns, and Funchal, Madeira, and Ponte Delgada in the Azores.