At least 3 cruise ships battle coronavirus outbreaks as industry’s comeback gets off to a rocky start

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  • Two cruise ships in Europe and one in the South Pacific experienced coronavirus outbreaks upon their return.
  • The industry has been hampered by the pandemic due to the high fixed costs associated with ships.
  • In the United States, crossings are not expected to resume until October and international cases could be a bad sign.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The first cruise ships to resume navigation got off to a rough start.

At least three cruise lines – Hurtigruten in Norway, AIDA in Germany and Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific – are battling epidemics among crew or passengers, according to reports.

The Hurtigruten cruise line in June became the first cruise line to resume sailing amid the coronavirus pandemic after a three-month hiatus. On July 17, however, hundreds of passengers had tested positive in an outbreak that ultimately hospitalized four crew members. The ship will not leave until September.

In Germany, 10 crew members on two separate AIDA ships have tested positive, USAToday reported. In a press release, the Carnival-owned company said all affected crew members will be quarantined. The two ships are expected to depart this month.

And in Tahiti, a young American woman tested positive aboard the Paul Gauguin ship before setting out for a seven-day cruise during which she will be quarantined on the ship, according to a spokesperson via USAToday.

The frenzy of cases as cruise ships begin to sail after a hiatus of several months could be a bad sign for the industry which has been largely crippled by the pandemic. With extremely high overhead costs associated with their massive ships, cruise lines burn huge sums of money as many ships remain empty of paying passengers.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has banned shipping from U.S. ports until at least September, another blow to the struggling industry.

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