Cruise ships in Japan back on track with COVID-19 safety measures

Japan Times -- Nov 16
The cruise business in Japan is getting back on track, with vessels gradually resume sailing with new COVID-19 safety measures in place after numerous canceled trips due to the pandemic.

Major cruise ships Asuka II and Nippon Maru had made a total of 21 trips by Monday after restarting operations in September around the time the government ended a coronavirus state of emergency that covered Tokyo and several other prefectures.

In early November, the 50,444-ton Asuka II with about 300 people onboard entered a port in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, becoming the first cruise ship to stop at the eastern Japan port in about two years.

Since resuming operations in October, the Asuka II has made several voyages, including a trip from Yokohama to Nagasaki, with an Asuka official saying that demand for such trips has increased.

The anti-virus protocols implemented by operators also include reduced capacity. The operator of Asuka II, which can hold about 870 passengers, only allows half of the ship’s capacity, while Nippon Maru allows about 65% of its approximate 530-person capacity.

The operators will conduct COVID-19 tests for passengers both before and on the day they board the ships.