Music Cruises Have Not Diverted Course in Wake of COVID-19 - Rolling Stone
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Music Cruises Have Not Diverted Course in Wake of Coronavirus

Cruises featuring Steve Hackett, the Zombies, Art Garfunkel and more setting sail this spring and summer

Tug boats maneuver cruise ship 'Norwegian Bliss' after its departure from the shipyard Meyer Werft for the transfer on the Ems river in Papenburg, northern Germany, 13 March 2018. The vessel, built for US shipping company 'Norwegian Cruise Line', measures 333 meters in length and is due to pass the Ems river towards Eemshaven, The Netherlands, backwards over a distance of more than 30 kilometers. The Norwegian Bliss will operate in the Alaska area.Transfer of cruise liner 'Norwegian Bliss' from shipyard to sea, Papenburg, Germany - 13 Mar 2018

As more festivals, shows and events shutter in light of the spread of COVID-19, music cruises are staying on course.

David Hecker/EPA-EFE/Shutterstoc

UPDATE (3/13): Cruise to the Edge has been postponed, date to be determined. All reservations will be honored when a new sail date is announced. “We are disappointed that this catastrophic world situation has impacted us and all of our Cruise to the Edge Family, but we are excited that we were able to creatively work with our Artists and NCL to provide you with what we believe is the best possible outcome,” event organizers said in a statement.


As more festivals, shows and events shutter in light of the spread of COVID-19, music cruises are staying on course.

Sixthman — the company that helms Knotfest, the Kiss Kruise and more — noted that their next sailing does not occur until August, and, at this time, they do not plan to cancel any events. The next event is Slipknot’s Knotfest, August 10th through the 14th; the band recently postponed their Japanese Knotfest, set to take place March 20th to 21st, in light of COVID-19.

“The safety, security and well-being of our guests, team members and partners is always our first priority,” a Sixthman rep told Rolling Stone. “Our parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line, has proactively implemented several preventative measures due to growing concerns regarding COVID-19 infections, and they continue to consult with The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this time, there are no changes to the upcoming music events beginning in August. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate updates as needed.”

In a statement updated on Tuesday, Norwegian Cruise Line said they are requiring guests to complete a pre-embarkation public health questionnaire detailing their health status and travel history. All guests and crew will also be “administered a non-touch fever temperature check.” Guests and crew will be denied entry if: They come from/traveled through/visited any countries currently under lockdown; have a temperature of or above 100.4F/38C; had contact with anyone with COVID-19; exhibit flu-like symptoms. Anyone denied entry will be given credit for a future cruise. The cruise line currently has 434 cruises on offer, 32 setting sail in March.

At a White House press conference Tuesday evening, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that if you’re a healthy young person, cruises are fair game, according to Forbes. “But the fact is that if you have…an individual who has an underlying condition, particularly an elderly person who has an underlying condition, I would recommend strongly that they do not go on a cruise ship,” he added.

The CDC has also warned people to avoid cruise ships, according to the New York Times. “Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew,” the CDC said. “Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.” Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reclassified the international coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a “pandemic.”

Upcoming cruises that have yet to be canceled include several legacy acts. Cruise to the Edge (March 27th to April 1st), the sold-out cruise featuring prog-rock greats like Marillion, Steve Hackett and Flying Colors. On the Blue Cruise (April 1st to 8th) boasts members of the Moody Blues, the Zombies, Art Garfunkel and more.

Reps for Cruise to the Edge and On the Blue had no comment when asked if they intended to proceed as planned. A rep for the Zombies said that the band plans to set sail as intended, as did Marillion.

“Marillion are perfectly happy to play Cruise to the Edge and we’re looking forward to it,” a rep for the band told Rolling Stone. “Obviously, if the event is canceled by the promoters or as a consequence of government policy, then we would reluctantly have to apologize to all our fans who have paid to see us in good faith, and we hope the paying public are refunded their ticket losses, although we realize there may be additional transport/hotel expenses which cannot be recovered. Shame, but there we are. A plague on the plague!”

Meanwhile, Yes had canceled their plans to play on Cruise to the Edge. Steve Howe explained the band’s decision in a statement: “We are full of regret, as we’ve been preparing for these shows with maximum excitement. Running a relatively large show aided by our 12-piece crew and full production requires insurance coverage, which is currently unavailable to us for a variety of reasons beyond our control. Mostly, we always hope to deliver a great show, creating a good experience for music fans and bringing joy to all. It’s become impossible to predict what will happen in the near future, but we look forward to seeing you all very soon.”

The Grand Princess cruise ship is currently disembarking passengers in Oakland, California, after around 21 coronavirus cases were discovered on board Thursday. Those affected are heading to hospitals, while other passengers will be quarantined for 14 days, according to the New York Times. A Florida couple aboard the ship has filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the cruise line of gross negligence, according to CNN.

Princess Cruises responded in a statement: “Princess has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew. Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being our guests and crew within the parameters mandated on us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness. We (sic) not been served with any lawsuit relating to this matter, and we will not comment on any pending litigation.”

In This Article: coronavirus, covid-19, cruises


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