Cruise ship carrying 8 passengers is last to dock

Cruise ship carrying 8 passengers is last to dock

(CNN) – After a six-month odyssey around the world, in which he was hit by a coronavirus and saw the oceans emptying of other ships dramatically, the last passenger liner still carrying passengers made its last port of call, delivering its eight guests to a world very different from the one in which they set sail.

Cruise ship MV Artania docked in the German port of Bremerhaven on Monday, operator Phoenix Reisen told CNN Travel, ending an epic return journey from Australia that saw the ship make numerous hijackings en route to drop crew members.

The eight passengers still on board were to disembark before noon local time.

The arrival of Artania comes more than two months after the decommissioning of the last large pleasure craft carrying a large number of passengers, while the cruise industry has severely hampered shipping in the midst of the global pandemic.

While the Costa Deliziosa, the MSC Magnifica and the Pacific Princess – the last major ships supervised by the industrial group Cruise Lines International Association – docked in April, Artania continued to sail, the end of its voyage in weeks.

The ship, which can carry up to 1,200 passengers, has embarked on a 140-day global cruise from Hamburg, Germany, on December 21, 2019.

In March, a coronavirus overtook the cruise when 36 passengers tested positive for the virus following a check by Australian health authorities when the ship arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Those affected have been quarantined at local hospitals, according to Phoenix Reisen.

Three people who were on the ship have since died – two male passengers, one 69 and one 71, and a 42-year-old crew member.

Healthy Artania guests were quarantined on Artania until their repatriation flights in late March. Hundreds of Artania passengers, the majority of whom were Germans, flew from Western Australia to Frankfurt, a handful remained in hospital in Australia to recover.

And eight passengers decided to return home via the ocean, rather than by plane. These travelers subsequently obtained the surreal status of becoming the last passengers on cruise ships at sea.

They saw the world change, the countries locked and reopened again, while remaining at sea, the last cruisers of the world’s oceans.

But while the return trip to Europe after Artania left Australia on April 18 should have taken a few weeks, it was extended by stops in Southeast Asia in order to repatriate many of its members from remaining crew.

Some European crew members were able to return home from Perth to Frankfurt alongside passengers. The rest of the crew remained on the ship, with Artania making calls to Bali and Manila to allow workers to return home.

About 75 crew members remained on board until Bremerhaven to help keep the ship running smoothly.

A wedding, several postcards and messages at home

Local residents sent positivity messages to the crew and passengers aboard the Artania when it was quarantined in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Local residents sent positivity messages to the crew and passengers aboard the Artania when it was quarantined in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Paul Kane / Getty Images

Along the way, Captain Morten Hansen kept passengers, co-workers, cruise enthusiasts and their loved ones informed via his Facebook page.

Born in Norway, Hansen has commanded cruise ships since 2001 and will be recognized by some as the star of the TV series “Crazy for the Sea”, a German reality show that documents the life of cruise ships.

During the long journey of Artania, Hansen posted videos in which he spoke frankly of the cabin and published photos of the sites spotted from the ship.

When the ship was quarantined in Perth, crew members received postcards from school children in the city.

The idea was to forge a link between the quarantined crew – caught in the pandemic and tainted by the declining reputation of the cruise industry – and a panicked city that felt increasingly threatened by the ships of Covid cruise and threat.

“The cards are written with love, sensitivity and individually for everyone. It was just comforting and moving,” Hansen wrote on Facebook, waving his card.
There were other special moments – on Mother’s Day, Hansen made a small detour from his planned route to trace the shape of a heart.

And just before the ship left Perth, two crew members united by these extraordinary circumstances, decided to marry and married in a ceremony presided over by Dr Gabriele Maluga, the honorary consul of the Federal Republic of ‘Germany in Western Australia.

The future of cruising

Phoenix Reisen said passengers should finish disembarking from Artania at noon local time.

On Monday, in recognition of World Ocean Day, activists from around the world today organized a “Gathering to Clean Up the Cruise”, which focuses on how the industry could change its environmental impact during the restart of the cruise.

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