Cruise companies typically invest large amounts into hygiene, safety and environmental processes even without a pandemic to prod them along. These companies reveal how their commitment remains strong, having enhanced their processes.
In response to Covid-19, Vietnam-based Bhaya Cruises has increased the cleaning frequencies of its 17 vessels and included Cloramin B disinfectant in its cleaning protocol as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Before embarking, passengers are required to have their temperatures checked at the cruise centre, and those with a reading above 37.5Â°C will be barred from boarding. Passengers are also provided with masks to use on their cruise. All frontline staff also don masks and disposable gloves.
Genting Cruise Lines
In April, Genting Cruise Lines introduced a series of enhanced measures for its Dream Cruises and Star Cruises fleet, with tightened health-screening processes and precautionary measures set to become the new norm.
These include online check-in with designated arrival times for guests, staggered boarding and disembarkation timings with additional waiting areas, infrared fever screening at the ship gangway, increased frequency and levels of sanitisation and disinfection across all public and crew areas of the ship, and reduced capacity of onboard venues.
The F&B experience is also set for reform. Debuting with the new Taiwan island-hopping itineraries onboard Explorer Dream, the Flexi-Feast dining concept will give passengers a wider pick of venues and timings at which to dine, easing bottlenecks at certain venues and providing social distancing across all restaurants.
Self-service buffet will also be suspended in lieu of dishes being served by crew members wearing face masks and disposable gloves. Stringent procurement guidelines will be enforced and product sourcing from highly affected regions will be strictly prohibited.
In the event of sickness, the guestâ€™s cabin will undergo thorough cleaning and disinfection with hospital-grade disinfectant and fogging. Isolated wards will be available in the Medical Centre, where staff are required to don Personal Protective Equipment.
Prior to arriving in Taiwan, Explorer Dream was the first cruise ship in the world to attain Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry, accredited by international accredited registrar and classification society DNV GL.
In accordance with Taiwanâ€™s regulations, the crew of Explorer Dream completed 21 days of isolation and passed Covid-19 testing, as well as participated in an outbreak simulation drill under the guidance of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control and with consultation by medical experts from the Taiwan Public Health Association.
Despite the pandemic, Dream Cruises remains committed to its high standard of environmental responsibility, through measures that increase energy efficiency, conserve fuel and water, reduce solid waste generation, increase recycling, protect marine life and prevent oil pollution. The cruise line is also exploring LNG solutions for its future newbuilds.
Vietnam-based Heritage Cruises has deployed doctors onboard all its river sailings since the outbreak, to provide immediate medical attention to guests in need.
This comes in addition to a requirement for all guests to provide a health certificate ahead of their journey. Hand sanitisers are also supplied on board and in every suite.
With its boutique cruise ships designed to accommodate an intimate group size, every vessel promises abundant common spaces and numerous dining venues to ensure privacy and safe distancing.
Royal Caribbean Group
Prior to the pandemic, Royal Caribbean International had developed an Outbreak Prevention Plan for aversion and response to spread of illness on board, employing strict hygiene practices such as intensive shipboard cleaning and rigorous passenger screenings.
In addition, every ship in its fleet has a dedicated medical facility staffed with contract medical doctors and nurses. These facilities are available to both guests and crew in the event that onboard medical treatment is necessary.
As the pandemic throws into relief issues regarding sustainability and climate change, the cruise line continues its focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. Under its Above and Beyond Compliance initiatives, the company has committed to programmes such as Save the Waves, a company-wide effort launched in 1992 that focuses on waste management, recycling, repurposing of cargo and operational waste and wastewater purification.
Its ships are built and continuously retrofitted for greater efficiency and smaller environmental impact, from sleeker hulls to engine configuration. Vessels are also equipped with Advanced Emission Purification systems, or scrubbers, which remove around 98 per cent of sulphur dioxide from exhaust, reducing demand for distillate fuels.
Silversea Cruises will maintain and enhance its rigid sanitary protocols, with updated precautions to uphold physical distancing guidelines when sailings resume. Cleaning procedures will be performed at an even greater frequency, with more specific details to be announced when the Healthy Sail Panel â€“ comprising 11 world-leading health experts â€“ have shared its findings.
The cruise line asserts that it, as well as the cruising industry as a whole, continues to commit to sustainable and ecologically compatible growth.
Its newest ship, Silver Origin, is built entirely with the environment in mind. It will feature a dynamic positioning system that will allow the vessel to maintain its position without dropping anchor, protecting the sea floor.
Guests will be gifted a metallic reusable bottle to use with in-suite purification systems that convert seawater into drinking water; bathroom amenities will include bottles of 100 per cent recycled plastic and biodegradable products; reef-safe sunblock will be made available. The ship also has an advanced wastewater treatment plan allowing it to discharge in designated areas, meeting stringent regulations.
Silversea Cruises participates in conservation projects and channels financial contributions into causes such as the Floreana Island Ecological Restoration Project, SOS North Seymour Project and the Silversea Fund for Galapagos.
In the Galapagos, the company employs 125 Ecuadorian crew members, who are required to attend training conferences throughout the year about conservation and the nature of the islands. There, it has also launched a programme aimed at sourcing all possible food products from local producers.