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Iceland open and hoping to welcome expedition ships this summer

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As of Monday, Iceland has opened its borders to tourists and Cruise Iceland reports it is in confidential discussion with three cruise lines about resumption of expedition cruises this year.

Cruise Iceland reports vessels are expected to arrive from mid-July, with new operating measures in place such as social distancing, increased medical personnel on board and frequent health monitoring of passengers.

Seatrade undertsands ships can operate continuously in Iceland for up to four months in a 12 month period without visiting a foreign port and keep within cabotage restrictions.

‘It has been amazing to watch the Icelandic nation tackle COVID-19, where cooperation and complete trust in authorities has been key. Months of hard work are now paying off,’ said Gyða Guðmundsdóttir spokesperson for Cruise Iceland.

‘Being an island, it is easy to monitor the population and track new cases with aggressive testing,’ she added.

Mobile tracking test

Before starting their journey to Iceland, tourists have to fill out a preregistration form and download the C-19 app on their phones.

Anyone arriving in Iceland via air can choose between taking a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the airport or self-isolating for two weeks. From July 1 onwards, the price for the PCR will be set at ISK15,000 ($110).

After undergoing the PCR test, tourists can leave the airport, but are advised to travel with caution until the test results are confirmed. Those can be expected within five hours and will appear in the C-19 app or via text message.

Open borders

‘We are very pleased with the authorities’ decision to open the borders, with next to no new cases, we are ready to welcome vessels again in Iceland,’ said Pétur Ólafsson, port master of Akureyri and chair of Cruise Iceland.

He added, ‘This might even be the perfect time to visit, since there will be a lot less tourists than previous years. We will definitely not be facing any congestion problems and passengers can enjoy the services offered by ports and tour operators, and thereby contributing to the local community, where many have been sitting idly since the COVID-19 crisis started.’


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