With Covid-19 bringing the cruise industry (and the world) to a halt, many of us will have spent a lot of time dreaming about our next holiday and more specifically our next cruise. But following the pandemic, it’s hard not to think about what precautions cruise lines will take in order to prevent the virus re-surfacing again in the future and help protect their passengers.
The European Union has recently released a document with guidelines for cruise lines to follow to restart the industry in Europe. The guidelines include a number of health and safety measures to protect both passengers and staff from Covid-19.
As these are only guidelines we are still waiting to hear from our beloved cruise lines as to the actual measures they will be putting in place for when they finally can set sail again safely.
So we’ve pulled together a few of the key points from the report to give you an idea of what new procedures cruise lines might introduce in the future.
In order for guests to social distance, the EU is recommending a reduced capacity onboard ships. This means that not only can everyone social distance themselves from each other but also people can quarantine themselves effectively if they were to come down with symptoms. They also suggest that cruise lines start with shorter duration cruises (3-7 days) which would reduce the number of ports that each cruise could visit.
To avoid guests queuing and overcrowding cruise terminals, the report recommends that cruise lines provide a digital way in which you can embark. This not only reduces overcrowding but also less interaction with people who would usually check you in.
For guests 65 and over or with underlying medical conditions, they advise that you visit your doctor prior to your trip to assess your overall health. You won’t need a doctors note to board your ship though.
They also recommend that cruise lines should divide activities into age groups to ensure the more vulnerable are better protected if there was to be an outbreak of the virus on board.
Indoor pools are off-limits
The report suggests that cruise lines shut indoor pools and as many of you may know that this would include and indoor pools and jacuzzis that are available in the onboard spas. They have also recommended that cruise lines reduce the number of people within pools at any one time.
Like most places these days, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you will be not be allowed on board your ship. “Any person experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if identified, anyone who has been in contact during the last 14 days with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or anyone who is tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR would not be accepted on board cruise ships,” the report says.
Fitness centres and Spas onboard
The staff on board will be asked to keep a record of everyone who uses the fitness and spa facilities on board. This will help to locate passengers and staff who may have come into contact with someone who possesses symptoms.
Onboard areas reduced capacity
To also help with social distancing rules, areas onboard where groups of people gather such as the kid’s clubs, bars, lounges, casino and theatres, will have a reduced capacity.
No more serving yourself food
If you’ve been on a cruise ship before you’ll know that the onboard buffet is a staple food destination whilst you’re on your trip.
The report doesn’t suggest to remove buffets completely but it does recommend that food has to be delivered to guests who are seated instead of them getting up to serve themselves.
“It is recommended that self-service food operations are avoided, and if this is not feasible, these facilities can operate only if additional specific hygiene management precautions are implemented,” reads the report.
“It is preferable that food is delivered by crew to passengers in closed packages or wrapped when it is delivered.”
Fewer amenities in your cabin
To ensure that crew can effectively disinfect cabins between guests, the report recommends that cruise lines remove non-essential items such as books, magazines, menus and tea and coffee facilities.
They also suggest that the remote control for your television is protected with a disposable cover that can be removed after guests disembark the ship at the end of their trip.
The EU has also recommended that cruise lines bring as much fresh air into the ship as possible by using HEPA air filtration or Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) to ensure that this is possible on board.
So what do you think of these recommendations made by the EU? Do you think they need to be implemented or do you believe the EU has gone too far? Let us know in the comments below!