Color Line has cancelled its cruise-ferry service between Oslo and Kiel, Germany for the next two weeks, the company announced on Friday. The decision was made the day after Norwegian authorities imposed strict preventive measures against the spread of the Corona virus, including detailed screening of passengers arriving from abroad.
The move come just hours after Raymond Johansen, head of Oslo’s city government, ordered that passengers arriving Friday on the Color Fantasy not be allowed to disembark until screening procedures were in place at Color Line’s terminal in west Oslo. After some delays, all passengers were screened and questioned by personnel in protective gear.
It appeared that some passengers were not allowed ashore at all, or perhaps did not want to venture into the city where most tourist attractions are closed anyway. Several people could be seen walking around the decks of the large ship until its departure.
The “Kiel ferry,” as the service is called by Oslo folks, is a key international connection between Oslo and Northern Germany. Its two vessels, Color Fantasy and Color Magic, can carry more than 2,600 passengers plus cars and trucks. It’s also popular for tourists and weekend trippers. According to a press release from Color Line, the Oslo-Kiel service is set to resume on March 26.
In the meantime, both vessels will be docked in Oslo, the company said. Color Fantasy left Oslo on schedule on Friday with passengers on board, and will return without passengers on Sunday. The Magic will arrive on Saturday.
Other operators also announced cancellations on Friday, with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines saying it will halt its services “for a while.” Fjord Line said it has cancelled service from Bergen and Stavanger on Norway’s west coast to Hirtshals in Denmark, but also said it will start an “emergency connection” to Hirtshals from Kristiansand in Southern Norway.