The Government of the Canary Islands has authorised several cruise ships companies to operate between the ports of the Archipelago as of November 5, once the companies have committed to comply with the strict sanitary protocol agreed by the Public Works, Transport and Housing departments and that of Health to guarantee the safety of both tourists and residents. The negotiations process started last summer when several shipping companies approached the Government interested in activating the autumn-winter season of their cruises only between the Canarian ports.

The companies TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have been the first to obtain this authorisation after both assuming, through a responsible declaration, full compliance with the health protocol established by the regional authorities. Among the conditions that these shipping companies have been required to commit to are the requirement to subscribe to an insurance policy to cover possible incidents related to COVID-19 among the passengers while they operate in the Canary Islands. They have also been required to enter into agreements with hospitals and hotels on each of the islands in case it is necessary to activate a quarantine, in addition to a special hygiene plan for ships and the hiring of embarked health personnel.

Both councils of the Government of the Canary Islands, considering that it is essential to recover this type of tourism due to the economic activity it generates in the Archipelago, then agreed to establish a protocol that would guarantee all the health requirements related to the crisis generated by COVID-19. After closing the talks on this protocol last September, the Canary Islands Minister of Public Works, Transport and Housing, Sebastián Franquis, and the Regional Minister of Health, Blas Trujillo, communicated to the presidents of the two port authorities on the islands conditions to be met by the shipping companies to operate in Canarian waters. The shipping companies have assumed these conditions and that Canary Islands Health Service has authorised cruise ships to operate between the islands.

The Canary Islands Government will only authorise tourist activity of this type to European companies, since the health protocols that the EU has established are among the most demanding in the world. In this sense, some five European cruise tourism companies have already shown interest in the Canarian winter circuit. In addition, cruise companies will be required to ensure that their ships do not exceed 60% or 70% of their capacity.

Another of the control measures set by the Government of the Canary Islands is to require shipping companies carry out a diagnostic test (PCR or serological test) on all travellers before arriving in the Canary Islands, to show that they are negative for signs of coronavirus. In addition, cruise passengers must fill out a form that includes all their movements in the last 15 days before arriving in the Canary Islands for monitoring in case of an incident, and confirm if they have had any contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus or if they themselves have tested positive in a recent diagnostic test.

The first ships to cruise between the islands will be the Mein Schiff II, from TUI and based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the Europa II, from Hapag Lloyd, based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.