Cruise ship mystery continues

Covid cases increasing on cruise ships?

AIDAmar cruise ship

FN reports on the cruise ship “AIDAmar” returning to the Port of Funchal to drop off a sick passenger. This time, it was the evacuation of an elderly passenger, who suffered a fall on the stairs and fractured her arm.

It arrived yesterday at the south pier, in Pontinha, at 11:45 am, after a few hours at sea. At about 1:30 pm, she set out again to Tenerife. In the previous evacuation, a few days earlier, the cruise ship also did not dock, staying off.

FN observe that generally in these emergency cases, an Air Force helicopter is used, in an operation costing between €20,000 – 25,000, depending on the distance at which the ship is located. In this case, the cruise ship chose to return.

This case was an emergency due to trauma, but FN has been told that cases of COVID-19 have increased on board the liners and that the Mein Schiffs even had passengers and crew banned from disembarking on board. This is supported by unsubstantiated reports that tour companies operating in the port of Funchal have been asked to discourage passengers on tours from circulating whilst they travel around the island.

Mein Schiff 4

Yesterday afternoon, the cruise ship ‘Mein Schiff 4’ arrived at the Port of Funchal, in yet another stopover between the Canary Islands and Madeira.

The ship, inaugurated in June 2015, has a capacity for 2,506 passengers, has  9 restaurants and bistros, another 15 bars and lounges, also guarantees a running course of 280 metres and an exterior 25-metre swimming pool.

The ship came from Arrecife and leaves in the late afternoon, at 5:00 pm, for the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, after about 24 hours docked at the south pier.

The next stopover at the Port of Funchal will take place tomorrow, with the return of the ‘MSC Splendida’, which will dock at 9 am from Tenerife and depart at 5 pm towards the Mediterranean, more precisely to the port of Malaga.

By the end of this month, in the absence of any change or cancellation, a total of 28 stopovers will take place at the Port of Funchal, one of which will pass through the Port of Porto Santo.

The port of Funchal for about a year imposed “blocking” measures at the entrance of these cruisers, some of which were parked in the Canaries, which only passed through here to see and smell the “promised land” from a distance.

Today is to face it, because we are no longer returning to the past. That catchphrase “health care first” has ceased to be so and the economy now occupies a prominent place, no matter who it hurts.

FN concludes that while the misfortunes of our neighbours have become a tourist attraction, with most of the ships passing through here heading to the island of “La Palma” and the sight of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, Madeira receives tourists for health care… The lady who fell and her husband are understood to be in a private hospital.

More information available in the States

In America, currently, the Centers for Disease Control outlines the rules and requirements for cruise ships sailing from the United States under its Conditional Sailing Order. This includes everything from policies for testing crew members to what to do if there are cases on a ship to rules surrounding masking and distancing.

In addition, the health agency publishes regular updates about the status of cases on cruise ships using a colour-coded table. While it doesn’t provide actual numbers of cases, it does tell the public which ships have possibly had bouts of the virus. This gives insight into what’s happening on all the ships either sailing or planning to sail from the United States.

Data from November 9 (posted November 10) shows 15 of 88 ships the CDC tracks have “non-green” status, indicating the possibility of COVID cases during the past seven days.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Travel latest: requirements for entering and leaving Madeira: is kept up-to-date on a previous post

15 thoughts on “Cruise ship mystery continues”

  1. Interesting as our friends have just come back from a cruise around the British Isles. They were only allowed off the ship on organised tours and they had to stay on the coach from the time they left until returned to the ship. So they had no chance of intermingling with the locals.

    • Not all cruises are operating like that though. Some of the ships visiting Funchal allowed the passengers to go ashore under their own steam. Now the likes of Aida & Mein Schiff are stopping over for 24hts or more passengers will mingle with locals and tourists ashore.

      • All cruise ship passengers are fully vaxxed and have quick and easy access to COVID testing so they are safer to the locals than tourists arriving by air who do NOT have to be fully vaxed to enter Portugal.

      • Ah. ”mingle with locals and tourists”.

        That must be what ”circulating” meant in this text ” unsubstantiated reports that tour companies operating in the port of Funchal have been asked to discourage passengers on tours from circulating whilst they travel around the island.” – I spent some time wondering what that meant.

        – tourist busses not allowed to go around the island but only to a place and then back?
        – forced to stay in their seats while on the bus?
        – not allowed to get off the bus until back at the start?
        – odd behaviour forbidden?

        The more I thought about it the odder my reasons became 🙂

        • I believe some of the cruise lines specify on their websites that passengers can only go ashore on the organised coach trips for sightseeing etc. This happened with some of the cruise ships in Funchal last month.

          This is copied from the port website:–

          “All passengers who disembark at the ports and marinas of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, from any territory outside the Region, may proceed to their destination upon the presentation of proof of having carried out a TRAg screening test for SARS-CoV-2 infection with a negative result, provided they are carried out within the maximum period of 48 hours, prior to disembarkment, unless they are in possession of a PCR test performed within a maximum period of 72 hours prior to disembarkation.
          All passengers arriving in the region are entitled to a free TRAg test.”

  2. I can remember back along when the ships were getting to do cruises again that there were 600 foreign workers flown into UK and then bussed to Southampton / Liverpool and another port cant remember which one.

    Would they all have been vaccinated? Doubtful I think

  3. When the numbers started rising the blog did not publish a breakdown of the nationalities of imported cases – which suddenly jumped. Could these be from cruise ships?

    • Strangely, Jeff, no breakdown of nationalities were announced by the authorities when the case numbers suddenly rose on the 7th and 8th of November (16 and 7 imported cases respectively, from a total of 48 and 24). I thought it strange at the time but could not find the information through any of the usual sources.

    • No, it is not necessary.
      That is what ad blockers are for – untill websites will have acquired some selfcontrol.
      Yes I know, a “free” website needs income from ads, but there is a saying about goose and gold.


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