Find out the latest news across the cruise industry with our Cruise News Round-up. In this round-up, we look at the future of international travel, including changes in health and safety measures across Europe. We also looked at where the demand for future travel lies, as well as how cruise lines are improving and adapting their health and safety measures to return stronger than before.
- Oceania Cruises enhanced health and safety protocols
- Demand for bucket-list travel grows
- Silversea prepares to launch Silver Origin
- Europe reopens for travel
Oceania Cruises enhanced health and safety protocols
Alongside other cruise lines preparing for the future of travel, Oceania Cruises have revealed their new enhanced health, wellness, and safety protocols. Working hand in hand with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as federal governments, the cruise line is developing, implementing, and continually evolving industry-leading standards that will meet or exceed all requirements.
Currently, the standards cover all aspects of on-board and shoreside operations to ensure the continued well-being of guests and crew. These include before your cruise, during your time on-board and life ashore.
- All guests undergo extensive health screening, with state-of-the-art touchless temperature screening
- Social distancing will also be in place, with embarkation terminals properly sanitised and fogged after each embarkation and debarkation
- All ships in the Oceania Cruises fleet are also disinfected, evaluated and certified as virus-free when they re-enter service, a task undertaken by Sabre BioResponse – the world leader in decontamination services
During your time on-board the most advanced technologies and practices are being put into place.
- 24/7 prevention schedule which features disinfection of public areas and high-traffic touchpoints and daily fogging of all staterooms, suites, public spaces, and guest corridors. The fogging process uses a hospital-grade oxidant that is natural, safe, and non-toxic
- There is also a hospital-grade HVAC system in place which will incorporate the latest advances superior to those found in land-based resorts. This ensures that each ship will utilise fresh-air induction and be equipped with the highest-tier HEPA 13 for all accommodations and public spaces
- Places such as the Terrace Café, Baristas, Horizons and the Executive and Concierge Lounges will be a no-touch food and beverage service with staff stationed ship-wide
- All guests will also be required to engage in frequent hand washing and hand sanitiser will be prominently placed and easily accessible
- Oceania Cruises has also reduced shipboard guest capacity to allow more space for responsible social distancing. This includes reduced seating in entertainment venues, small groups onshore excursions and on-board activities, and increased spacing in dining venues
- As for staff on-board, there is constant monitoring of staff and crew health including temperature checks multiple times per day and rigid sanitation and hygiene protocols
- The cruise line has also expanded the medical teams to provide an industry-leading medical staff-to-guest ratio on-board
- Medical centres on-board are also abundantly stocked, including the latest virus-testing equipment, with all centres able to perform FDA- and CDC-approved PCR Point of Care testing. Complimentary consultations and treatments are also provided for respiratory illnesses and each ship has dedicated isolation accommodations should the unlikely need arise
- During your time ashore, Oceania Cruises have also partnered with local destinations and tour operators to ensure health and sanitation protocols extend to the shoreside experience
- Embarkation terminals, tour coaches, and the attractions visited must meet or exceed the stringent protocols set on-board
Each ship has a Public Health Officer on-board responsible for the oversight of all these procedures and outbreak prevention initiatives. As well as monitoring the day-to-day cleanliness and maintaining compliance, they will also work hand in hand with the ship’s medical team, the corporate Public Health and the Medical departments shoreside.
Although these protocols are continuously evolving and adapting to the current climate, it’s reassuring to know that the cruise lines such as Oceania Cruises have put these stringent measures in place to ensure cruising can still be enjoyed in a safe and comfortable environment. We will keep you updated with any further development of the cruise line’s procedures.
Demand for bucket-list travel grows
As holiday plans for 2020 are put on hold, cruise lines are reporting that many cruisers are looking to 2021 for their next getaway with far-flung destinations top of their list. Regions such as Japan, Dubai and even world cruises are popular with 2021 bookings as more of us want to explore destinations rich in culture.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO, Frank Del Rio spoke about the company’s two luxury brands – Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas – stating, “this notion that people aren’t going to want to cruise to faraway places of exotic destinations, what we’re seeing is defying that.” He also added that some Japan itineraries and world cruise segments are already sold out.
Other luxury cruise lines are also sharing similar trends, with Silversea Cruises Chief Marketing Officer, Barbara Muckermann revealing that expedition cruises to destinations such as Antarctica, the Arctic and the Galapagos are very popular for 2021. Muckermann shared that she believed these destinations were growing in demand as they are uninhabited places and feature on many cruisers bucket lists.
Chris Austin, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for Seabourn, revealed that their popular destinations are Alaska and Europe for 2021.
Crystal Cruises have also experienced forward bookings, with passengers not only booking Crystal’s world cruise in 2021, but also in 2022 and 2023. A spokesperson for the cruise line also confirmed there is a demand in sailings to Asia and the Middle East, saying, “People who love cruising are generally optimistic that we have a future that’s going to allow them to explore the world again.”
It’s encouraging to see that the desire to travel is still strong and people can’t wait to set sail again, perhaps ticking off bucket-list destinations or revisiting their favourite places. SixStarCruises’ sister company, Cruise118.com, also gathered research on market trends and customer demand earlier this year – reporting that top destinations included the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
It also revealed that nearly a quarter of customers would be more likely to book a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, with bucket-list regions cited including South Africa, the Maldives, Barbados, and the Seychelles. You can see the survey results in full here.
Read more: Travellers planning long-haul for 2021
Silversea prepares to launch Silver Origin
Silversea Cruises has overcome unprecedented challenges over the past few months to ensure it can still take delivery of the line’s newest ship, Silver Origin. With great resilience and determination from Dutch shipyard De Hoop, as well as the shipyards skilled employees, the ship is now undergoing its final touches ahead of its delivery.
In March 2020, the Netherlands declared a national lockdown and implemented a halt to the country to safeguard the health of its people. Though isolated in the remote corner of Lobith, the De Hoop shipyard still offered its team of 250 employees the option to cease working.
Many returned home to their families, but many opting to continue working and apply their craftsmanship to the ship’s guest suites. During this time, and in accordance with the rigorous protocol imposed by the Dutch health authority – RIVM, De Hoop’s professionals were protected by sanitary procedures developed by the shipyard itself. These included daily temperature checks; enhanced cleaning procedures in living quarters, the crew mess, and throughout Silver Origin; strict social distancing measures, including a 1.5m separation rule and a one-way system throughout the ship.
Results meant that contact circles were reduced, meetings were cancelled, and fewer people were allowed in each area of the ship. Necessary supplies were delayed or cut off and the closure of other countries meant that the project may not have been able to progress.
However, in the face of adversity and with perseverance, the team continued, and De Hoop changed the way it operated to complete the project. In late April 2020, Silver Origin completed her first sea trials as a great success, offering the chance for the captain to ensure proper operation of the machinery’s systems. As the travel ban prevented sub-contractors from reaching the ship, Silver Origin’s sea trials also included a world first. During the dynamic positioning test – which tests the ship’s ability to remain within 10cm of a fixed point without dropping its anchor – the system was remotely tuned and calibrated by a third party in St. Petersburg, Russia, over 1,800km away!
Speaking of the incredible progress made by the team, Director of De Hoop Shipyard, Fre Drenth said, “This was the first time such an operation has been completed remotely during a ship trial. The tuning was successful and took no longer than usual. It demonstrates that it is possible to run dynamic positioning systems remotely. It could potentially save a lot of travelling time for engineers in the future. I am incredibly proud of my team for their work.”
The finishing touches are now being applied to Silver Origin, ready for her delivery in June 2020. weeks. Once the ship is delivered, Silver Origin will set sail for the Galapagos Islands as one of the most elegant ships ever to sail in the region. Sharing his thoughts on the events, Silversea’s President and CEO, Roberto Martinoli said,
“We are so grateful to the professionals at the De Hoop shipyard. In the face of such adversity, their efforts were extraordinary and represent the resilience of European industry. Silver Origin looks magnificent. Our pioneering new ship represents the dawning of a new age of travel in the Galapagos Islands and we look forward to welcoming guests aboard when the time is right.”
We wish Silversea all the best with the arrival of their brand-new ship and look forward to seeing Silver Origin set sail in the Galapagos soon. The ship will certainly unite many people with the beauty of the region and offer one of the most luxurious ways to explore a fascinating destination.
Europe reopens for travel
Countries across Europe are beginning to plan to take their first steps towards reopening to tourism. Last month, the European Union unveiled its support to help Europe’s tourism industry and allow countries to begin preparing for the future.
A series of guidelines were shared by the European Commission to help member states list travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen while maintaining the necessary health precautions. Many countries have since revealed their plans for opening borders and welcoming international tourism, including many short-haul destinations and popular hotspots.
As the UK’s number one summer destination, Spain has implemented a four-phase plan which allows domestic travel to resume on the 22nd June. The country will then reopen to international arrivals – including tourists – on the 1st July.
Bars, restaurants, cafes and museums are slowly reopening in iconic destinations across Italy such as Venice, Rome and Florence, alongside many hotels and beach resorts. Italy’s ban on international arrivals is due to be lifted in June 2020, with restrictions based on where the passengers has travelled from. Speaking on the subject, Italian Tourist Board Manager of UK & Ireland, Flavio Zappacosta said, “we know how popular Italy is for Brits and hope we can inspire them to start to plan and book an Italian holiday this year.”
The Algarve in Portugal is gradually reopening ahead of summer, with more than a third of hotels open already and plans to raise this to 75% in June. The country has pledged not to impose quarantine measures on arrivals in summer, though there are separate arrangements for islands destinations such as Madeira and the Azores where visitors may need to present test results or be tested on arrival.
Croatia is continuing to open to international tourism, with citizens of the EU and European Economic Area countries able to enter Croatia as long as they have a confirmed accommodation booking. Meanwhile, Malta is introducing a range of protocols to allow its tourism to gradually resume, including social distancing measures and enhanced hygiene.
As many destinations continue working hard to introduce new measures and health protocols, it allows us to look ahead for a more positive future when international travel is welcomed once more.