Expedition line, Hurtigruten and luxury cruise company, Ponant have introduced new COVID-Safe measures across their fleet of ships.
Hurtigruten has halved its passenger capacity on its ships to allow for social distancing for its summer sailings which restarted on 16 June. Passengers will have their temperatures checked before embarkation and temperature screening cameras have been installed onboard to keep track of guests temperatures as they move about the ship.
The line has also stopped buffets and restaurants have introduced extra dining sessions to serve fewer people.
Hurtigruten will introduce electrostatic cleaning with strong disinfectants used in all public areas, storerooms and galleys.
At Ponant, there will be strictly controlled boarding procedures for guests, crew, baggage and merchandise. Passengers will also have to undergo temperature checks on returning from a shore excursion and personal belongings will be disinfected.
Guests will have to observe social distancing while on board the ship and during shore excursions.
Restaurant capacity will be halved with no buffets and only a la carte services will be offered. There will also be reduced capacity for onboard entertainment and theatre attendance.
The ship will undergo constant and systematic cleaning, disinfection and decontamination of all public areas.
There will also be comprehensive sanitary management of air circulation.
Each ship will now have a hospital with the latest specialist equipment to fight against COVID-19 including infrared temperature controls and high-tech resuscitation equipment staffed by expert medical team with emergency skills.
“To date there have not been any cases of COVID-19 infection on any of Ponant’s 11 ships and this enhanced protocol is designed to maintain that record,” said Monique Ponfoort, Ponant Asia-Pacific Vice President.
Luxury line, Silversea is also working on the introduction of new health protocols when the line resumes operations in August.
With a passenger capacity of about 600 for each Silversea ship, this allows for easier social distancing on board the vessel. The line is also getting rid of self-serviced buffets and replacing with served sit-down meals.
“Things will be different, there will be a new normal,” said Damien O’Connor, Silversea’s SVP of Hotel Operations and Onboard Revenue.
“The virus does not begin on the ships. Guests unintentionally bring it onboard and then it spreads. The idea is to make sure people are healthy when they get on the ships and healthy when they get off the ships,” he added.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is also working on a new health framework for cruise lines in the wake of COVID-19 crisis.
The new policies will introduce stringent screening, cleansing and medical protocols to be adopted by lines globally.