More than a thousand Filipino seafarers have been recalled by foreign cruise line operators that will resume sailing to Europe and Mediterranean itineraries, but thousands more still have to wait another two to three months due to travel restrictions in other countries.
Several cruise companies have already relaunched. These include TUI Cruises, a German company in which Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) holds a stake; Hurtigruten, a private company based in Norway; and Hong Kong-based Genting Cruise Lines, according to migration and recruitment consultant Manny Geslani.
The TUI vessel Mein Schiff 2 departed Hamburg for a short cruise on July 24, according to a RCL spokesman. It carried 1,200 people, with capacity limited to 60 percent and only balcony suites available.
Carnival, the worldâ€™s largest cruise operator, hopes to resume cruises starting September 6 out of Hamburg, Germany with AIDA Cruisesâ€™ AIDAPerla.
Another Carnival-owned European cruise line, Costa Cruisesâ€™ Deliziosa, will start cruising around Italian ports starting September 6, with only 50 percent capacity and will be limited to Italian citizens only.
US ports remain closed under a no-sail order imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through September 30. Some cruise brands, such as Carnivalâ€™s Princess Cruises line, have suspended their sailing beyond that date.
RCL and Norwegian Lines have also scheduled their cruises after October 31.
Meanwhile, the bulk of over 50,000 Filipino cruise ship crews who have been repatriated may have to wait a few more months before the worldâ€™s three largest cruise operators Carnival Corp., RCL and Norwegian Lines, which comprise 70 percent of the cruise ships all over the world resume operations after September.
In North America, the cancellations are partly being driven by a â€œno-sailâ€ order for cruise ships issued by the CDC that currently extends through September 30, and a cruise ship ban by Canada that will remain in effect until at least October 31. Cruise lines also are contending with country-by-country travel restrictions and port closures around the world.
Filipino seafarers are still hoping that as cruises start in Europe, more cruise lines will recall the Filipino crews which comprise a third of a cruise shipâ€™s crew complement. That number can range anywhere from 500 to 800 overseas Filipino workers.