German cruise line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will resume reduced-capacity cruises for residents of Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the end of July.

The line has introduced a ten-point health plan in advance of the resumption of operations from  Hamburg onboard Europa 2 and expedition ship Hanseatic inspiration.

The ships will initially operate eight short itineraries with a 40% reduction in capacity resulting in 150-300 passengers onboard.

The announcement follows the news that Carnival Corporation’s German brand Aida Cruises will be resuming operations in August.

Karl Pojer, chief executive of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, said: “We have taken extraordinary measures in preparation for this relaunch and are faced with a new travel reality with significantly stricter prevention and hygiene standards. We have taken our time because the safety of our guests and crew and the trust of those in charge of the German ports is very important to us.

“For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who are resident in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on board at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries.”

He added: “Our relaunch will be carried out in a controlled fashion, and we are going above and beyond the requirements set forth by the authorities. Between each cruise, we will purposely have a reset day without guests on board.

“Our reset day is for general cleaning and disinfection of the entire ship and will help to establish the new procedure. Our aim is to make our guests’ time on board safe, care-free and enjoyable, by observing the necessary rules in regards to maintaining distance and providing personal and individual service. Our small ships offer ideal conditions for this.”