13 May 2020
Given the vulnerability of closed environments during long voyages, the gradual restoration of cruise services should be coordinated at EU and international level, considering the public health situation in the countries concerned. Before starting journeys, cruise ship operators should ensure with ports along the route that, if needed, they can plan for passengers and crew members to receive medical treatment and that repatriations and crew changes can be organised. These are just two of many recommendations that the European Commission issued today as part of a package of guidelines and recommendations to help its 27 Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions. The package consists of a common approach to restrictions of free movement within the EU’s internal borders, recommendations on cancellation alternatives, common criteria and principles for tourism activities as well as a common framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport. The latter includes both general principles for the safe and gradual restoration of passenger transport and practical guidance for individual transport modes, including cruise and ferry shipping.