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HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Over the last few months, cruise lines around the world have suspended many of their sailings for 2020 and some even beyond that. They have however also been preparing to put in place various safety measures to ensure the safest environment for all customers and crew on their ships.

We’re excited about the prospect of being able to cruise again soon and while we understand that things still are not back to normal just yet, our favourite cruise lines have been working hard to ensure that the return back to sailing will be as smooth and safe as possible. 

To make things a little easier we have decided to collate all the information we are receiving from cruise lines regarding when they are sailing again, as well as any new health and safety procedures they are introducing, all in one place for you. Some of the enhanced measures that we can expect to see from cruise lines are:

  • Upgraded health screening prior to boarding for guests and crew
  • Enhanced cleaning processes and ventilation systems on-board
  • A special focus on addressing the destinations
  • Procedures for addressing any reports of exceptions

So, whenever you feel ready to set sail again, you can find everything you will need to help you choose the right cruise holiday for you.

Royal Caribbean & NCL Healthy Sail Panel

Cruise industry leaders, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd have come together to work collaboratively on the development of enhanced cruise health and safety standards.

Responsible for seven cruise lines between them: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Silversea, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, both leaders have gathered industry experts to create the Healthy Sail Panel.

Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group revealed that the new program will focus on four key aspects:

  • Upgraded screening prior to boarding
  • Enhanced processes on-board
  • A special focus on addressing the destinations
  • Procedures for addressing any reports of exceptions

Fain explained, “This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety […] bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”

Also commenting on the developments, Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. President and CEO said, “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards […]While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.”

Royal Caribbean

The health and safety of guests, crew and the communities they visit, remain their top priority. Royal Caribbean International, in collaboration with cruise line industry partners, formed the Healthy Sail Panel, a taskforce of globally recognized medical and scientific experts, to develop recommendations for establishing the strongest protocols in the travel industry. When they resume operations, they will be implementing a comprehensive set of health and safety measures for their crew, guests and the destinations they visit. They will not sail until they are ready and have received Government approvals in each market.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • Assigned staggered arrivals – More emphasis is placed on requiring passengers to arrive at a specified time, easing crowds in car parks, drop-off areas and terminals to allow for social distancing.
  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Expedited boarding – Complete check-in within the app and generate a mobile boarding pass with features such as scanning a passport and uploading a security photo.
  • Muster 2.0 – Electronic mustering capability to allow passengers to do their required safety drills separately in their own time, rather than gathering in large groups together.
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and sanitation practices
  • Digital key – Select ships and staterooms will enable passengers to unlock their cabin doors with their smartphone. Currently, Royal Caribbean allows this using its wearable WOW bands, but this enables more guests to access the technology through their phones.
  • Stateroom automation – Control elements in passenger staterooms such as the TV, lighting and temperature from your phone which limits touchpoints.
  • Implementing detailed plans for addressing positive infection onboard, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and evacuation
  • On-board account – View on-board charges and credits in real-time, without the need to queue at guest services.
  • Daily planning – View the daily schedule on your phone and make reservations for shows, dining and shore excursions without the need to visit guest services.
  • Closely controlling shore excursions
  • Enhanced protection for crew members

Norwegian Cruise Line

With Norwegian's Peace of Mind, you can cruise safely with enhanced health and safety protocols and flexible booking. Feel Free to change plans as needed and feel confident knowing that they are looking out for your health and safety.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • Enhanced and continuous screening protocols for guests and crew
  • Increased sanitation with a 24/7 disinfection schedule
  • New hospital-grade air filtration system
  • Responsible social distancing from check-in to disembarkation
  • Enhanced medical resources with bigger medical teams and the latest testing kits
  • Expanded ship-to-shore safety and rest assured we will only visit safe ports

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises have come together with other leading cruise companies an created The Healthy Sail Panel. Together they have identified five areas of focus every cruise operator should address to improve health and safety for guests and crew, and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:

  • Testing, Screening and Exposure Reduction
  • Sanitation and Ventilation
  • Response, Contingency Planning and Execution
  • Destination and Excursion Planning
  • Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

In each category, the Healthy Sail Panel created practical and actionable recommendations to address specific safety concerns. Among the recommendations are key strategies such as:

  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices
  • Implementing detailed plans to address positive infection on board, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and rapid evacuation and repatriation
  • Closely controlling shore excursions

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises continue to have in place the highest standards to ensure the health, safety and well-being of their guests, crew, and communities they visit. Working closely with medical experts and global authorities to help determine the best way to move forward while honouring their highest responsibility – the health, safety and well-being of their guests, crew and communities they visit, along with compliance and environmental protection.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURED INCLUDE:

  • Everyone boarding our ships will undergo health screening and testing for COVID-19 before boarding.
  • Every area of the ship will be rigorously and regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Provision of additional hand-sanitising stations.
  • Enhanced on-board ventilation systems to provide increased filtration and fresh air.
  • Adhering to approved guidance for every aspect of the holiday experience.
  • Everyone on board will need to adhere to the most up-to-date guidance regarding the use of face coverings and social distancing which will be in place in all public areas.
  • Port transfer and organised shore experience operators will be subject to new policies and procedures to reflect the latest approved guidance in line with on-board protocols and will comply with all local guidance relating to social distancing and face coverings.

Cunard

Cunard are committed to delivering the highest standards of health, safety and wellbeing for their guests, crew and the wider communities they visit.

“We have always taken pride in having the highest levels of health and safety. We are now reviewing every aspect of the Cunard experience and will only resume sailing when we have the approval and accreditation of enhanced health protocols from the most trusted and informed sources.”

- Cunard President, Simon Palethorpe.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURED INCLUDE:

  • Everyone boarding our ships will undergo health screening and testing for COVID-19 before boarding.
  • Every area of the ship will be rigorously and regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Provision of additional hand-sanitising stations.
  • Enhanced on-board ventilation systems to provide increased filtration and fresh air.
  • Adhering to approved guidance for every aspect of the holiday experience.
  • Everyone on board will need to adhere to the most up-to-date guidance regarding the use of face coverings and social distancing which will be in place in all public areas.
  • Port transfer and organised shore experience operators will be subject to new policies and procedures to reflect the latest approved guidance in line with on-board protocols and will comply with all local guidance relating to social distancing and face coverings.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises are constantly monitoring the global health map, as well as actively working with public health officials and medical experts to ensure everything possible is done to prevent illnesses on-board their ships.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • Enhancing Screenings when boarding including touchless temperature checks, health questionnaires, secondary screenings when necessary, health checks throughout the cruise when necessary and not boarding anyone – guests or crew – who shows signs of illness.
  • Enhancing sanitisation procedures in embarkation terminals and on board
  • Using elevated ventilation systems - enhancing fresh air distribution through public spaces and staterooms and adding HEPA filtration systems to key areas, such as medical centres and isolation rooms.
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Purchase anything on board without handling cash or cards using touch-free technology, courtesy of MedallionPay™.
  • Working with local health authorities and government officials in the destinations they visit to make sure health measures align with theirs.
  • Itinerary optimisations & proactive planning
  • protection for crew members

MSC Cruises

With MSC Cruises your health and safety will always be their top priority. In addition to the already rigorous attention to hygiene on board their ships, MSC Cruises is taking additional steps to protect their guests and crew to ensure that you can cruise with confidence on your next holiday with them.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • Health screening for all guests, including a mandatory health questionnaire (sent in the cruise ticket) and a contactless temperature check
  • Newly designed processes for embarkation with assigned arrival times at the port to facilitate responsible social distancing and enhanced sanitation measures that follow the same high standards as on board
  • Boarding will be denied to any guest showing signs of illness or in case of potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, in the 14 days prior to embarkation
  • Elevated standards of sanitation and cleanliness on board
  • 100% external fresh air supplied to all cabins and public areas and no re-circulation of air between cabins or within the ship
  • Enhanced medical services with highly qualified staff
  • Fully equipped Medical Centre, including COVID-19 testing equipment and ventilators
  • Well-trained, well-equipped, and healthy crew

Fred. Olsen

The cruise line has been working hard with other UK cruise lines, CLIA and Public Health England to establish its approach, as well as reviewing the EU ‘Healthy Gateways’ guidelines to ensure that the best protocols are put into place before sailing resumes.

The Safe Sailing Charter has been developed to advise customers in all the ways which Fred. Olsen is keeping guests safe and will be continually reviewed and updated as the situation evolves over the coming months. Initially, just some of the ways which Fred. Olsen has developed its Safe Sailing Charter includes a dedicated sanitation team frequently cleaning with anti-viral solutions; development of agreed and comprehensive processes to treat guests with symptoms on-board; pre-approved tour partners and small groups; and additional port options.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • The highest cleanliness standards – this involves a dedicated sanitation team who work throughout the day and night ensuring all surfaces in all areas are frequently cleaned with anti-viral solutions. We ensure these protocols are strictly followed with regular auditing using UV and swab testing carried out by our Sanitation Officer.
  • Specialist medical facilities on board - managed by teams of Doctors and Nurses. We are working with Public Health England, the CLIA Medical Action Group and other UK cruise lines to develop agreed and comprehensive processes for how we isolate and treat any guests with symptoms either on board or at the destination.
  • Additional port options – they will continue to follow the latest advice and guidance from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on which ports they visit when they start sailing again. If government advice changes about one of our planned ports of call during a cruise, their smaller ships have more options for alternative ports, which allow them to change course more easily.
  • Pre-approved tour partners and smaller groups - only sell shore tours from pre-approved partners in the country we are visiting and where we are confident they will uphold the standards required locally.

Holland America Line

The cruise line has confirmed it is planning the correct practices to put into place when cruising resumes, offering strengthened health measures which have been developed in line with government health authorities, public health experts, local ports and CLIA.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • All guests and crew embarking a ship will undergo enhanced pre-embarkation health screening in accordance with prevailing health best practices. This may include health questionnaires and touch-free temperature checks as appropriate.
  • Health checks will continue as appropriate throughout the cruise for guests and crew.
  • Establishing rapid response and contact tracing plans for every cruise in case of onboard illness.
  • Enhanced and extensive sanitization methods.
  • A team of highly trained medical staff are part of the crew, including qualified doctors and nurses.
  • Training of all crew in COVID-19 health protocols and how to assist with monitoring compliance with health measures by both guests and crew.
  • Enhanced fresh air distribution into public spaces and staterooms.
  • HEPA filtration systems to key areas such as Medical Centres and dedicated isolation rooms.
  • Working with local health authorities, destinations, and other key partners to ensure alignment on their enhanced health measures.
  • Monitor disease activity and health regulations in the destinations they  visit and adjust the itinerary as necessary.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has launched its ‘Voyage Well’ health plan to support the innovative protocols on-board Virgin Voyages ships and will welcome future 'sailors' into an environment designed to meet health expert recommendations and sailor expectations before, during, and after a voyage.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

• Advanced pre-boarding health checks prior to embarking will be required

• Thermal camera technology in terminals and on-board

• Rapid and effective testing of all passengers and crew

• Managing occupancy and implementation of best practices around sanitation, physical distancing, and health checks

• Use of an HVAC system that pumps fresh air through the ship’s public spaces and cabins, removing recirculated air

• Digital on-board technology to limit contact, including contactless payments, service chat and virtual queues.

• Post-voyage notification process (health app) for all passengers and crew to report becoming unwell within 14 days of leaving the ship

Azamara

Many of Azamara’s current procedures have been elevated and introduced to ensure the cruise line keeps everyone on-board healthy. The cruise line is focused on additional safety enhancements for the return to service, collaborating with government health authorities, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and their own team of medical experts.

ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES INCLUDE:

  • Performing enhanced screening at the embarkation port
  • Implementation of travel restrictions preventing guests and crew coming from or transiting through areas of a high risk of infection/exposure from boarding a vessel
  • Providing hand sanitizing gel at boarding and throughout the voyage in all public areas and encourage guests to sanitize often
  • Access to a 24-hour medical facility onboard with a doctor and nurses ready to provide medical care
  • Working with our tour operators to sanitize transportation vehicles and provide Purell wipes for all guests

For further information please call our Cruise Experts.

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