AIDA Cruises cancels 2 of 3 August sailings after anticipated restart amid COVID-19 pandemic

Morgan Hines
Other Aida ships with the giant, colorful lips include AIDAbella, which debuted in 2008. On some Aida ships, the lips take up more than 1,600 square feet of space.

German line AIDA Cruises will not restart operations this week after all. And the cancellation of two of its August sailings isn't due to the 10 AIDA cruise crew members who tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, the cruise line's restart is being held up by its flag state: Italy.

"Contrary to our expectations, the final formal approval for the start of the short trips from August 5, 2020 by our flag state Italy is still pending," AIDA said in a statement provided by Roger Frizzell, spokesperson for Carnival Corp., AIDA's parent company. 

Cruise lines are required to follow the guidance of their flag state — which is the governing body under which the ship is registered and licensed. They are also required to follow the International Maritime Organization and the rules and regulations of each ship's origin location and destination location(s).

Most of AIDA's 13 ship fleet is flagged in Italy.

Because they haven't received Italy's approval to begin sailing, the line's scheduled itineraries on AIDAperla and AIDAmar departing on Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, respectively, must be canceled.

The cruise line announced early last month that three of its ships would resume operations in August – ending a coronavirus pandemic-induced hiatus that began in March – with new health and hygiene protocols and without port calls.

"We very much regret this delay. We would have loved to welcome our guests back on board," the line said. "We assume that we will receive the last formal approval by the flag state Italy in a timely manner."

All passengers scheduled to sail on AIDAperla and AIDAmar will be automatically reimbursed for what they have already paid and will receive a future cruise credit equal to 50% of their ticket price to be used in the future.

AIDAblu's Aug. 16 sailing from Kiel, Germany, has not been canceled. 

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