As cruise lines prepare to return to the water, the safety of guests and crew have been their highest priority. We’ve seen cruise lines consulting with experts in public health and publish their new health and safety programmes to ensure that cruising is enjoyable as it ever was and safer than ever before.
It’s been great to see the cruise lines come together to share best practices, as in the case of the Healthy Sail Panel where cruise lines including Oceania and Regent Seven Seas have combined forces with leading minds within public health to share insights across the whole industry. We’re pleased to share this information for all of our cruise lines, so you can be reassured when you plan your next cruise.
Healthy Sail Panel
Featuring Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises & Silversea
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, both leaders have gathered together industry experts to create the Healthy Sail Panel. The panel has introduced five key areas of focus, of which there are over 70 recommendations which cruise lines are advised to implement in order to best protect and care for guests and crew on-board, as well as offer the health and safety measures outlined.
The panel includes experts across the industries of public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality, and maritime operations. The cruise lines have also said its workings are ‘open source’ and could be freely adopted by any company or industry which would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights.
“This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, “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.”
Crystal has introduced new measures to ensure its exceptional standards for health and safety are met. With Crystal Clean+, a stringent set of health and safety protocols are designed to meet the unique challenges posed by COVID-19.
These have been developed alongside health experts and will be continually evaluated as new information becomes available, including:
- Declaration of safety upon boarding
- Capacity control and social distancing
- High-frequency purification in social spaces
- Fresh-air ventilation systems
- Regular health monitoring of crew members
- Contactless dining
- Shoreside partners and excursions to maintain the same level of standards
Read more: Crystal Clean+
Hapag-Lloyd returned to cruising in July 2020, with an extensive hygiene and preventative measures plan. This involved a ten-point health plan and new cruise routes, as well as 40% fewer passengers.
The initial sailings have been developed in accordance with the German authorities to only allow guests who are residents in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd commented on the announcement:
“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,” says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “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.”
Read more: Resumption of sailings for Hapag-Lloyd
Scenic is working closely with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), as well as local and international government health agencies to ensure protocols meet and exceed the latest regulatory requirements. With the implementation of new insights and technologies, helping to safeguard the health and safety of guests and crew, the cruise line can continue a truly wonderful cruise experience.
Though these are continuously being updated, Scenic’s protocols include:
- Pre-arrival: a medical health evaluation form prior to departure from your home
- Arrival: Mandatory briefings about Health & Safety protocols
- On-board Hygiene: Doubling of their already frequent cleaning protocols in public spaces and suites
- On-board food and beverage service will follow the protocols and guidelines recommended by IG River Cruise and Government Health agencies
- Our off-board Shore Excursion options will strictly adhere and comply with the destination-specific regulations
- All local partners will be compliant with our Health & Safety protocols
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available on-board in all public spaces, guest corridors and suites
- Strict control of who enters the ship
As well as the above, guests passing through from other ships, will be allowed but only for guests sailing with companies (CLIA protocol) that apply the same high protocols and guidelines standards as at Scenic. All transport will be equipped with hand sanitiser and social distancing requirements, in compliance with the region’s guidelines in which the cruise line is operating.
Read more: Scenic’s Cruise with Confidence
Seabourn is working on protecting the environment, safety, health and wellbeing of both guests and crew members, as well as the communities which the cruise line visits. During the time which the cruise line is suspended, it has released the following statement:
“During this time, we are working in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other global health experts, to develop enhanced procedures and protocols for health and safety on board our ships. When the time is right to resume cruise operations, we continue to be committed to providing our guests with a safe and healthy environment based on the latest advancements in health protocols. A comprehensive restart protocol may include areas such as medical care, screening, testing, mitigation and sanitization addressing arrival and departure at cruise terminals, the boarding and disembarkation process, onboard experience and shore excursions.
“At this time, it is simply too early in the process to provide exact details and specifics on plans to enhance our procedures and protocols. That is especially true as the medical and scientific communities are constantly learning more every day, and working to align on best practices for mitigation protocols.”
Read more: Seabourn Travel Advisory
Book with Confidence
SixStarCruises is an award-winning luxury cruise agent, supported by our team of cruise experts who hold personal experience and knowledge to help you book your perfect cruise. In light of the current global situation, we want to reassure our customers that they can rebook with confidence with SixStarCruises:
- Flexible booking amendment terms from the cruise lines allowing you to change your travel plans, even close to your departure date, should you need to
- Not only are we bonded ABTA members, but we are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme. This allows us to give full peace of mind, ensuring your money is always protected and covered by ABTA from start to finish.
- We are part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise retailer
- Award-winning customer service and booking advice
- Best Price Guarantee
Flexible Amendment Policies
As well as improving health and safety on-board, many cruise lines have also introduced flexible amendment policies. These cover amending your sailing close to the departure date, price guarantees and Future Cruise Credit. You can find out more about these policies here.