In an open letter sent to the crew members of Holland America Line, and subsequently posted on the Holland America Crew Facebook Page, HAL President Gus Antorcha has good news.
The CEO says that the Seattle-based cruise line has now started to move six vessels to US waters. This follows in-depth discussions with the CDC, government agencies, and medical and science authorities.
It will take a few weeks for all six ships to arrive; although some are close by, some of the vessels are scattered around the globe:
- Koningsdam: The Koningsdam is at anchor just outside Panama City and is scheduled to be sailing the Mexican Riviera from San Diego.
- Nieuw Amsterdam: The Nieuw Amsterdam is at anchor just outside the dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. She will be sailing an itinerary from Fort Lauderdale to several ports in the Caribbean.
- Nieuw Statendam: The Nieuw Statendam is moored in the French city of Brest in the bay of Biscaye. The Nieuw Statendam will be sailing the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and the Eastern Caribbean.
- Noordam: The Noordam is currently moored in the Greek city of Katakolo and is scheduled for cruises in Asia; whether this will be changed is unclear at this point.
- Westerdam: The Westerdam is currently moored in the port city of Southampton in the UK and is scheduled to sail around South America.
- Zuiderdam: The Zuiderdam is also moored in the Greek city of Katakolo and is scheduled to sail to Alaska.
Careful steps towards a new future for cruising
The mobilization of the vessels is the next important step for the Dutch- American cruise company. It would signal that the company is confident that it can operate within the CDC’s boundaries in its ‘Framework for a conditional sailing order.‘
Once the vessels arrive in the US, several other steps need to be taken before the vessels can sail out with guests.
- A quarantine period and PCR testing for those onboard.
- Preparing the vessels for COVID-19 safe operations
- Flying in crew members from around the world, who should also be quarantined and tested, and receive training.
- Partake in CDC- mandated mock voyages to be able to be certified.
Once all these, somewhat simplified, steps have been completed can the vessel start sailing with guests.
Crew Is Being Mobilized
A message posted on the same Facebook page also states that the crew should start making preparations for embarking on the vessels.
Crew members are being asked to update contact information and personal info to streamline any future communication.
After months of speculation and wondering what will happen to the cruise industry, we start seeing positive flashes. With Royal Caribbean already mobilizing guests for mock voyages, and Holland America mobilizing its ships, there is something to look forward to once again.
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