Spain holidays: TUI among cruise lines to restart cruises in Canary Islands next month

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The Canary Islands Government has given the go-ahead for cruise ships to restart between the ports of the islands from November 5. Amongst the cruise lines welcoming back holidays is TUI Cruises which has become one of the first to obtain authorisation after agreeing to the newly established health rules set out by the regional authorities.

It is joined by Hapag Lloyd Cruises, which is part of the TUI Group family.

The Ministries of Public Works, Transport and Housing and the Department of Health have agreed on a strict health protocol, which includes insurance, medical equipment on board, consultation with health centres and hotels on each island in case of quarantine.

In addition, cruise companies will be required to ensure that their ships do not exceed 60 or 70 percent of their capacity.

The decision was made after talks which began in the summer months.

Talks were devised between several cruise companies after they approached the Government interested in activating the autumn-winter season of their cruises between the Canarian ports only.

The conditions include an insurance policy to cover possible incidents related to COVID-19 among the passengers while they operate in the Canary Islands.

The cruise lines have also been required to enter into agreements with hospitals and hotels on each of the islands in case it is necessary to activate a quarantine, in addition to a special hygiene plan for ships and the hiring of health personnel.

The Canary Government says it is vital for its economy to restart cruises following a freeze of more than seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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However, health officials have stressed: “Permission will only be given to European companies since the health protocols that the EU has established are among the most demanding in the world.”

Five European cruise tourism companies have already shown interest in the Canarian winter circuit.

Britons will be allowed to enjoy cruises but must abide by strict entry requirements set out by the island’s authorities.

Before arriving in the Canary Islands, passengers must take a PCR or serological test to show they are negative for coronavirus.

In addition, cruise passengers must fill out a form that includes all their movements in the last 15 days before arriving in the Canary Islands to monitor them in case of an incident and confirm if they have had any contact with people positive for coronavirus or if they themselves have tested positive in a recent diagnostic test.

What’s more, UK nationals will still be required to undergo a period of 14-days mandatory quarantine on return home.

The Canary Islands remain off the UK travel corridor list.

According to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO): “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.”

The FCDO adds: “Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.

“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCDO is not advising you to cut short your visit.”

Holidaymakers may also be subject to random spot checks on arrival, including temperature checks and a “visual health assessment”.

The first ships to cruise between the islands will be the Mein Schiff II, from TUI and based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the Europa II, from Hapag Lloyd, based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot. 

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