The spectacle of a giant ship moving in reverse through the narrow waterway, past cows grazing in meadows, usually draws thousands of onlookers to the riverbanks, bridges and locks.
P&O Cruises' Iona was scheduled to leave the Papenburg yard's outfitting dock on Wednesday evening for its journey to the sea.
Due to the public health authorities' advice about avoiding crowds to stem the transmission of coronavirus, Meyer Werft encouraged people to 'please stay home this time.' Instead, they were invited to keep abreast of Iona's progress via the shipyard's social media channels.
As per established safety procedures, Iona would be proceeding in reverse for better maneuverability, with two tugs providing assistance.
Weather and tidal conditions permitting, P&O Cruises' next generation, LNG-powered ship was planned to arrive in Eemshaven, Netherlands, Thursday evening.
Iona will then go through several days of technical and nautical tests on the North Sea.