A German cruise ship is gingerly testing the water amid the coronavirus pandemic, setting sail for the first time since the industry was shut down months ago and using strict precautions to keep passengers and crew as safe as possible, the AP reports. The TUI cruise ship "Mein Schiff 2"—literally "My Ship 2"—set sail for a weekend cruise in the North Sea late Friday night. Occupancy was limited to 60% so passengers could keep a social distance, but even that level wasn't reached. The ship sailed off with 1,200 passengers on board compared to its normal 2,900 capacity. It was not reported how many crew were on board. The ship sailed from the northern port of Hamburg toward Norway, and passengers will spend the weekend at sea with no land stops before returning to Germany on Monday.
On board, passengers and crew are required to stay 5 feet away from one another or wear protective masks and they will not be able to serve themselves at the ship's buffet. All passengers also had to fill out a health questionnaire before boarding and have their temperatures taken. After being shut down for months, German cruise ship companies are hoping that shorter, strictly controlled trips will help restart the business that has been devastated by the pandemic, which forced cruise ship companies to suspend operations and stranded thousands of passengers and crew worldwide. Germany has been widely lauded for its efforts to contain its coronavirus outbreak. It has reported over 206,000 infections but kept deaths to 9,124—only one-fifth of Britain's death toll.
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