In the middle of a normal evening over the Torquay harbour side last November 26, passersby initially thought that they were witnessing a police or border patrol operation when they saw crew members in white suits from the cruise liner Nieuw Statendam arriving in a pontoon.
Upon arriving on the harbour, the men in white suits were welcomed by men in black with large suitcases who would make their way to the cruise liner.
The passersby were wrong, though, as they were actually witnessing a crew changeover for the Nieuw Statendam as it prepares for its voyage back to US waters. The said cruise liner is one of a six-ship fleet from the Holland America Line.
The ship left Brest, France and sailed back to Torbay at 11 AM last November 26 to begin preparations for its journey to the US and subsequent return next spring. As a part of the preparation, the crew has to comply with enhanced public health protocols for a precautionary 28-day period.
The ship made its way to Torquay with a special crew donning full personal protective equipment that is assigned to help the new crew and their luggage.
The Nieuw Statendam, a luxury cruise liner, was launched into its first voyage with Oprah Winfrey in 2018
In a letter to the cruise liner’s employees by Holland America Line’s President Gus Antorcha, he said that after 7 months, the no-sail ban has been lifted by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the end of October.
Furthermore, the letter said that after in-depth discussions with the CDC, science and medical experts, and other relevant government agencies, Holland America Line decided to move 6 ships to the U.S. waters in a span of a few weeks to complete conditional sailing requirements.
The Nieuw Statendam sister ships, Zaandam and Volendam, are now back in the harbour together with other ships, the Azura, Arcadia, Marella, Discovery, Queen Mary 2, and Ventura.