After a break of one and a half years, cruise ships start calling the port of Riga, Latvia
On Sunday morning, August 8, MV Artania of the German travel agency and cruise ship operator Phoenix Reisen, arrived at the port of Riga. MV Artania is the first cruise ship to call Riga after a break of almost a year and a half caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
MV Artania with ~ 560 passengers on board arrived in Riga from the port of Tallinn and is scheduled to visit several Baltic Sea cities during the cruise, including Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Gdansk and Kiel, etc.
All passengers on board are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The ship, which started a sea cruise on 30 July in Bremerhaven, carries passengers from 8 countries, mostly from Germany, but also from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
With the aim to comply with security standards to reduce the risk of Covid-19 virus spread, for the purpose of gradual resumption of cruise ship calls in the port of Riga, the Freeport of Riga Authority in cooperation with the Latvian State Border Guard, SEMS and SPKC has developed a “Management Plan to Mitigate Covid-19 Virus Spreading Risk“.
Further on, all cruise ships arriving in Riga, shall comply with the said plan. The Plan provides for the rapid exchange of information, preventive measures and a harmonized operational algorithm for all parties involved in standard and various risk level situations.
The Management Plan has been prepared in compliance with the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia, based on the guidelines Covid-19: EU Guidance for Cruise Ship Operations, and taking into account the recommendations of leading organizations and associations in the international cruise and maritime transport sector regarding the implementation of safe cruise transportation.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the cruise industry, together with the world’s leading health organizations, has been working hard to develop a sustainable concept that would make cruise tourism the safest way to travel, also from an epidemiological point of view. The cruise ships are equipped with state-of-the-art ventilation systems, constant disinfection of rooms and surfaces is being provided, regular temperature measurements and even laboratories for Covid-19 tests are available on board. Prior to boarding, both crew members and passengers shall present appropriate Covid-19 certificates. Regular tests, at least once a week, are mandatory for passengers and crew members who have not been fully vaccinated or had contracted Covid-19. Cruise ships are ready for situations when Covid-19 or any other infection is being detected on board: a sufficient number of cabins are provided for self-isolation and / or quarantine,” said Ilze Nelis, cruise specialist of the “Riga Passenger Port”.
The cruise ship MV Artania is 231 m long and 32 m wide, with a maximum capacity of 1260 passengers and 537 crew members. The ship’s 8 decks boast 600 cabins, a swimming pool and a movie-theater.
Several more cruise ship calls to the Riga port are being scheduled during the current season, as long as the epidemiological situation in Europe allows for it.